Fast Track Claims – Claims between £10,000 – £25,000

Have you already completed your Directions Questionnaire and your case has been allocated to the fast track? 

If so, Mercian Law can help.

Is your claim over £10,000?  If so it will involve procedures that are not straightforward and could lead to a formal trial.  Even if you feel confident enough to present your case before a Judge, HM Courts & Tribunal Service recommend using a solicitor with the work needed before trial.

Fast Track final hearings are usually for less than a day. The typical timetable and directions are:

  • Disclosure – 4 weeks after allocation.
    • Disclosure is the process of sharing a list of the evidence you have with the other side.  Both sides can then see in advance all the documents the other side are intending to rely upon.
  • Exchange of witness statements – 10 weeks after allocation
  • Exchange of expert report (if expert is allowed) -14 weeks after allocation
  • Filing pre-trial checklists – 22 weeks after allocation
  • Trial – approximately 30 weeks after allocation
  • Application to extend direction dates. These dates can be extended but usually only with the consent of the other party and so long as the extension doesn’t amend the date for filing pre-trial checklists.
  • Prepare, file and serve list of documents: standard disclosure
  • Request for inspection of disclosure documents
  • Arrange an advocate to attend any preliminary hearings
  • Request from you and make payment of hearing fee
  • Preparation of hearing bundle
  • Formatting of witness statements for signature (once drafted by witness)
  • Instructing expert witness (if permission granted by court for expert to be used)
  • Filing at court and serving upon other side all documentation
  • File and serve pre-trial checklist
    • These checklists help the judge to decide if any further directions are needed before trial, and you must confirm you have complied with all the directions previously ordered.  Like with the allocation questionnaire the court expects the parties to discuss the checklist together before filing. Failure to file this form on time with the required court fee could result in your claim, defence or counter-claim being struck out.

Once the pre-trial checklists have been filed the judge may:

  • Confirm compliance with previous directions
  • Decide if any further directions are required, including filing a list of issues in dispute
  • Decide whether to give already allowed expert to give oral evidence at trial
  • Confirm the length of the trial
  • Set timetable for trial
  • Give directions about filing the trial bundle
  • File a list of issues in dispute
  • Arrange for an advocate to attend the final hearing with you
  • Make an application to move hearing date
  • Advise and assist on set aside application
  • Disclosure documents

All documents relevant to the dispute, including those that support your case, those that undermine your case and those that support the other sides case.  If you fail to disclose a document, you will not be allowed to rely upon it at the final hearing.

A non-exhaustive list of the type of documents that the judge is likely to want to see are:

  • Any written contract or agreement & details of any breaches
  • Photographs
  • List of items complained about
  • List of any outstanding items
  • Any relevant estimate, order, invoice or receipt
  • Written witness statements from all involved, including the parties themselves
  • Calculation or amount outstanding including any amounts received with any supporting documents
  • Witness Statements

It is important that any statements provided by witnesses of fact are detailed and comprehensive.  They will only be able to give evidence on what they have in their statement.  They will not be able to talk about anything new or additional.  There are also rules about how a witness statement should be set out and have within it.  They will need to describe:

  • The background to the claim
  • How they know the parties
  • What was agreed and what went wrong
  • A chronology of what happened and when
  • The impact of what went wrong
  • What was done to solve the problem if anything

Instructing Mercian Law to assist with preparing your case for final hearing will ensure your witness statements are as comprehensive as possible to support your claim.