You should start proceedings in the county court for the district in which the defendant (the service provider) lives or carries out business, or in the court for the district in which the act/s of discrimination took place. You can use the Courts service website to find the relevant court address. The court can transfer proceedings to another court if it is defended.
If you wish to bring a claim, you must send or take the following to the court:
- one copy of a claim form (called form N1) for the court, for you and for each defendant;
- one copy of the particulars of claim for the court, for you and for each defendant (unless you have included the details of your claim are included on the claim form);
- the court fee; and
- a stamped self-addressed envelope, if the proceedings are being issued through the post.
The claim form
All county courts have form N1 and will give you copies for free. They also have leaflets about bringing a claim and on current fees.
It is important to fill in the claim form carefully. It is this which starts legal action and is the first thing the court will read.
Be very clear and give details of all the things which have happened which you think are as a result of the discrimination that you have suffered. You may not be able to add complaints after you have sent your claim form to the court.
We explain below how to fill in the form. You should also try to get further information directly from the county court.
Fill in here the name of the court where you want your claim to be issued. This should be the county court for the district in which the defendant (the service provider) lives or carries out business, or in the court for the district in which the act/s of discrimination took place
The claimant and defendant
As the person issuing the claim, you are called the claimant and the person or company you are suing is called the defendant. If you are under 18 years old or you are a patient within the meaning of the Mental Health Act, you must have a ‘litigation friend’ to issue the court proceedings on your behalf. This can be a member of your family or someone else you trust. If this applies to you, you should fill in the claimant section as follows:
[Insert your name] by his/her litigation friend [insert litigation friend’s name]
JOE BLOGS by his litigation friend EMILY BLOGS
Providing information about yourself and the defendant
You should give your full name, postal address and postcode. If you do not have your postcode (or the defendant’s), you need to ask the judge for permission to serve the claim without this information.
You must also provide the following information about the defendant:
If the defendant is an individual, you must enter their full unabbreviated name, including middle names if known, their title (for example, Mr, Mrs, Dr) and residential address including post code and telephone number.
If the defendant is a proprietor of a business, a partner in a firm or an individual sued in the name of a club or unincorporated association, the address provided should be the last known place of residence or the principal place of business.
If the defendant is trading under another name, enter his or her full unabbreviated name and include the full name under which he or she is trading in brackets afterwards.
If you are suing a partnership, enter the full name of the business followed by ‘a firm’ and its address and postcode. The address may either be one of the partner’s residential addresses or the principal or last known place of business.
If the defendant is a registered company or limited liability partnership, you must enter the full name of the company followed by the appropriate suffix (such as Ltd, Plc or LLP). You must provide the address and postcode of the registered office or any place of business in England or Wales that has the greatest connection with the clam: for example, the shop where the act of discrimination took place.
If the defendant is a corporation other than a company, put the full name of the corporation and any appropriate suffix, plus an address and postcode either for the corporation’s principal office or any other place where it carries on activities that have a real connection with the claim.
If the defendant is an overseas company (defined by section 744 of the Companies Act 1985), you must enter the company’s full name, any suffix if appropriate, and the full address including postcode. The address must either be the registered address (under section 691 of the Act) or the address of the place of business which has the greatest connection with the claim.
Brief details of claim
You should set out here a concise statement of the nature of your claim and that the remedy that you are seeking: for example, damages.
The claim form must include a statement of value. If a precise figure cannot be included (which is usually be the case where compensation for injury to feelings is claimed), the value should be estimated as up to £5,000; between £5,000 and £15,000; or more than £15,000.
If you cannot put a value on your claim, write:
‘I cannot say how much I expect to recover’.
If you are claiming personal injury as a consequence of the discrimination you have suffered and you have listed your claim as being ‘not more than £5,000’, you must also write:
‘My claim includes a claim for personal injuries and the amount I expect to recover as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity is’ and follow this with either ‘not more than £1,000’ or ‘more than £1,000’.
Particulars of claim
You must set out the following points under this heading:
- a concise statement of the facts on which y ou rely;
- a statement (if applicable) to say that you are seeking aggravated damages or exemplary damages; and
- details of any interest on the damages you are claiming.
- The claim form or separate particulars of claim must also contain a signed statement that the facts stated in the particulars are true.
If you start proceedings for sex discrimination, you must send a notice of commencement to the EOC and file a copy of this in the court office. There is no prescribed form. Notice could be by letter informing the EOC of the type of claim, your name and the name of the defendant, and the county court in which you are starting the claim.
You can sometimes claim interest on the money that you are claiming from the defendant. If you want to claim interest, you must include it in your ‘particulars of claim’. Write your claim in the following way:
‘The claimant claims interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year, from [date when the money became owed to you] to [the date you are issuing the claim] of £ [put in the amount] and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgment or earlier payment at a daily rate of [enter the daily rate of interest]’.
The fee you have to pay to the court depends on the amount you are claiming, including interest.
You will have to pay a court fee unless one of the following statements applies to you:
- You or your partner receives income support.
- You or your partner receives pension credit guarantee credit.
- You receive income-based job seeker’s allowance.
- Your gross annual income is below a set limit and you receive working tax credits with a ‘disability element’. Court staff will explain this to you.
- Your gross annual income is below a set limit and you, or your partner, receive working tax credit and child tax credit between you. Court staff will explain this to you.
If you show that a payment of a court fee would involve undue hardship to you, the court manager may rule that you do not have to pay the fee, or that you can pay a reduced fee. This is called fee remission.
For further information, or to apply for a fee exemption or remission, ask court staff for a copy of the combined booklet and form EX160A, Court fees – Do I have to pay them? This is also available from any county court office, or from the Courts service website.
As well as court fees, you will have to pay a fee when you return the allocation questionnaire. See Allocating a claim to the right track.
Her Majesty's Courts Service