Question keith johnson Law
Part-payment of a debt through the small claims track of the county court
If there is a debt of 5000 pounds, can the claimant issue proceedings in the county court for 500 pounds as part payment?
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Answer Internal Staff
The county court, or to be more specific, one of its functions performed by the small claims track, can review monetary disputes up to certain amount. The amount of £5000 certainly falls under the auspices of the small claims track of the county court. The claimant can file to be repaid whatever amount they choose and they can state in the particulars of the claim that this amount will be a part payment (CJC, 2013). However, even then once a claim is filed the defendant can do a few things. The defendant can ignore the claim or simply not respond for various reasons within the permitted timeframe.
The defendant can also acknowledge the service and indicates whether they intend to file a defence, file a part admission or contest the jurisdiction of the court (justice.gov.uk). The defendant might dispute the full amount of the claim brought forward to be review or even file a counter claim. However, there might be a part-admission by the defendant where they want to dispute part of the claim. Even if the claimant files for the full £5000, if there is only part admission by the defendant, then only a part-payment may be recovered anyway. This also applies to the £500, where this amount can also be contested and disputed. Nonetheless, at any point ‘between serving the claim form on the defendant and the case going to court for a final hearing the parties can reach an agreement or ‘settlement’. This avoids the need for the judge to decide the case. Whether you are a claimant or a defendant, you can make an offer to settle part, or all, of the claim at any time.’ (CJC, 2013:16).
Civil Justice Council, (2013).‘A Guide to Bringing and defending A Small clAim’ https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/JCO/Documents/CJC/Publications/Other+papers/Small+Claims+Guide+for+web+FINAL.pdf