If the defendant decides to defend him or herself against your claim, the court will then allocate your claim to the appropriate ‘track’. To help decide this, the court will issue what is known as an ‘allocation questionnaire’.
The allocation questionnaire
You must complete and return the allocation questionnaire within the time specified on the form and with the appropriate fee. A judge will then allocate your claim to ‘the small claims track’, ‘the fast track’ or ‘the multi-track’. You will be sent a notice telling you which track your claim has been allocated to and what you must do to prepare your case for trial or final hearing.
Which track your claim is allocated to depends on its value and other matters, such as the legal or factual complexity of the claim; the remedy sought; the views expressed by both parties (you and the defendant); and the circumstances of both parties.
- The ‘small claims track’ is the normal track for claims worth no more than £5,000.
- The ‘fast track’ is the normal track for claims between £5,000 and £25,000, where the trial is likely to last for no longer than one day.
- The ‘multi-track’ deals with all other claims.
A sex discrimination claim worth less than £5,000 might be dealt with under the fast track or multi-track, if it involved complex legal issues. If a claim is for more than £5,000, the claim can still be dealt with under the small claims track if both parties agree and the judge approves. However, the winning party will usually be able to recover some of their costs, including solicitor’s costs, from the losing party.
The small claims track is intended to be a simple and informal way of resolving disputes, which can be used without the help of a solicitor. The procedures for the fast and multi-tracks are more complicated. If your claim is allocated to either of them, you will probably need advice from a solicitor, law centre or advice agency.