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Circuit Court Cases And 504 Food Allergies

Starting a court case

Parties are encouraged to give information to each other, in am attempt to prevent the need for so many court cases to be started. So before a claim is issued, especially in personal injury cases, a pre-action Protocol should be followed. This is a list of things to be done and if they parities do not follow the procedure and give the required information to the other party they may be liable for certain costs if they then make a court claim.

The information is usually in a letter explaining brief details of how the claim arises; why it is claimed that the other party is at fault; details of injury or other damage and any other relevant matters. The defendant is them given three months to investigate the claim and must then reply, setting out if liability is admitted or if it is denied, with the reasons of the denial. If expert evidence is going to be needed then the parties should try to agree to use one expert. This should lead to many claims being settled, but there will still be some which need to go to court.

Which court to use?

Where the decision is made to go to court, then the first problem is which court to use. The two courts which hear civil cases are :

- The County Court

- The High Court

For cases where the claim is for 15,000 or less, the case must be started in the County Court. For larger claims you can usually choose to start a case in either the county court of the high court. This is still the position after the Woolf reforms. However, there are some restrictions laid down in the high court and county courts jurisdiction order 1991.

These are that:

- Personal injury cases over 50,000 must be started in the county court

- Defamation actions must be started in the high court.

So for most cases over 15.000 a claimant will be able to choose the most convenient court for starting the case. The main points to consider in making the decision are the amount that is being claimed and whether the case is likely to raise a complex issue of law. The fact that a case is started in one court does not necessarily mean that the trial will be there; cases may be transferred from one court to the other for the actual trial, ir this is thought necessary. Once a case is defended the case is then allocated to the appropriate track and at the same time it is possible for it to be transferred to another court.

Issuing a claim

If you are using the county court, then you can choose to issue the claim in any of the 230 or so county courts in the country. If you are using the high court, then you can go to one of the 20 district registries or the main court in London. You need a claim form called N1. The court office will give you notes explaining how to fill in the form.