The UK's Leading "Do it Yourself" Legal Website

Legal Glossary

ALLOCATION
This describes the process by which the court assigns or allocates the claim to one of the 3 county court tracks.

ALLOCATION QUESTIONNAIRE
The form which the parties complete to help the court to decide which track the claim should be allocated to. We have included an example of a completed allocation questionnaire in the DYJ toolkit.

BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES
This is the standard of proof in civil claims. Think of it in terms of having to prove that something is more likely to be true than not.

BURDEN OF PROOF
This legal term refers to the fact that the onus is on the party making the claim or counterclaim to prove their case.

CLAIMANT
The party making the claim

COUNTERCLAIM
This refers to a claim that is made by a defendant against the claimant. It is often said that attack is the best form of defence and this can be seen as the legal equivalent!

CPR
This stands for 'Civil Procedure Rules', the rules which govern the conduct of all county court claims. The rules are divided into a number of different sections, or "parts", each dealing with a different topic. Part 27 specifically applies to small claims and can be found reproduced in full in the DYJ toolkit.

DAMAGES
A term used to simply describe an award of compensation.

DEFENDANT
The party against whom a claim is made.

DIRECTIONS
These will be issued by the court after allocation. Think of directions as the steps which the court requires the parties to take to make the claim ready for a final hearing.

DISCLOSURE
This describes the process by which each party identifies the documents they intend to rely on and make copies available to the other parties.

DISTRICT JUDGE
There are various levels of judge. Small claims are dealt with by either a District Judge or Deputy (part-time) District Judge.

EVIDENCE
This term applies to all the documents, statements, reports and such like which the parties will produce at the hearing to prove their case.

FAST TRACK
This is one of the 3 tracks of the county court. It generally deals with claims that have a value of up to £25,000 and which are not suitable for the small claims track.

FILING
This simply refers to providing the court with a form or a document.

LAY REPRESENTATIVE
A non professional lawyer who has been appointed to represent a party at a hearing.

LETTER OF CLAIM
A letter written by the claimant to the proposed defendant(s) before court proceedings are issued setting out the basis of the claim and inviting settlement.

LITIGANT IN PERSON
Someone who is not a professional lawyer or lay representative who is dealing with the claim themselves.

MULTI-TRACK
One of the 3 county court tracks. It deals with complex cases which normally have a value exceeding £25,000.

PART 20 CLAIM
This is a claim made by someone who is not the claimant. You are most likely to encounter a Part 20 claim in the form of a counterclaim made by the defendant.

PARTICULARS OF CLAIM
A formal summary of the claim which generally appears on, or accompanies, the claim form. Probably the most important document a claimant has to prepare.

PRE ACTION PROTOCOL
Small claim DYJ'ers don't need to worry about these protocols too much as they only apply to a limited number of types of claim such as medical negligence, personal injury and solicitors' negligence. For those that do encounter them they are a set of guidelines which the parties should follow prior to a claim being issued.

SMALL CLAIMS COURT
As this site explains, there is no small claims court as such. It's actually a short hand term for the "small claims track of the county court", which doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

SMALL CLAIMS TRACK
The last of the 3 county court tracks and the focus of this site.

SPECIFIED CLAIM
This term refers to a claim for a fixed or "specified" sum.

STATEMENT OF TRUTH
At certain stages court procedure requires people to confirm that the contents of documents (such as a claim form or witness statement) are true.

STAY
In the guide we liken this concept to a sort of pause button. If a stay is imposed everything is put on hold until it is lifted.

STRIKE OUT
If a claim is "struck out" then it cannot be continued with. Parts of a claim can be struck out as can any written material.

UNSPECIFIED CLAIM
Unlike a specified claim for a fixed amount, this is a claim which leaves the amount to be decided on by the court.

WITHOUT PREJUDICE
If negotiations (including offers and counter offers) are concluded on a "without prejudice" basis neither party may reveal the contents of those negotiations to the court until after judgment is given.