County Court: Find out which types of personal injury claim should be commenced in the County Court and where your court case will be heard
County Court: On this page you will discover which types of accident claim should be issued in the County Court, where in the country your claim can be commenced, why the location of the court can change for the trial of your civil case and why the County Court procedure is varies in the countries that make up the UK.
What is a UK County Court?
In the United Kingdom claims for compensation for accidents are classed as civil matters and as such a personal injury claim must be commenced in either the Small Claims Court, the County Court or the High Court.
The County Court is the most common court which claims will be commenced and each district in the country will have a local County Court.
The court rules of County Courts are all connected to one central system for each county which makes up the UK – England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each country has its own jurisdiction and as such the court procedures vary slightly from country to country, but within each country are the same.
What type of claim will your accident claims lawyer decide to issue in the County Court?
Since the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 the amount of compensation your solicitor estimates your accident claim to be worth will largely determine whether your claim should be issued in the County Court or one of the other courts.
If your claim for pain and suffering for physical or psychological injury is worth over £1,000 your solicitor will issue your claim in the County Court. If your compensation is likely to be less than £1,000 your claim should be commenced in the Small Claims Court .
Very large value claims can be commenced from the outset in the High Court, but more commonly are commenced in the County Court and are transferred at a later stage to the High Court once evidence is available to support the large compensation amounts being claimed.
High Court Claims are typically worth over £50,000 in compensation.
Geographically which County Court should you commence your accident claim in?
There is no restriction in which County Court in England and Wales your solicitor can commence your claim in. However, it is typical that for convenience your solicitor will commence your claim either in the County Court local to where you live or more likely in the County Court local to your solicitor’s office.
Your claim will not necessarily stay in the County Court it is commenced in – as once the person you hold at fault for your claim has been served and provided a Defence and allocation questionnaires sent out by the County Court a request can be made to have the claim transferred to the Defendant’s local court. This request will more often than not be allowed by County Court as it is seen to be fair.
Which County Court will a trial or final hearing of your claim take place at?
Albeit there are many County Courts in many small places across the country – there are only certain locations at which a trial can take place. Such County Courts are also called trial centres. This might mean that the final trial of your claim could take place elsewhere in the country, but that location should still be relatively local to the County Court in which your claim has been run.
It is typical however that the most local court will be chosen for the convenience of the parties, but most importantly for the convenience and availability of requisite trial judges.
For example – I have known claims which are in Preston County Court to have had a final trial hearing at Blackpool county court, Manchester County Court or Liverpool County Court and vice versa.
Is the procedure in all of the County Courts in England and Wales the same?
”Yes” – the procedure in all of the County Courts in England and Wales are the same and are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.
There are some exceptions however for the use of technology.
For example, some courts are happy for hearings to take place on the telephone whereas other County Courts prefer hearings in person.
Generally, the County Courts are working to a uniform system which includes the use of technology in a consistent manner.
Summary of County Court accident claims
On this page I have set out which type of personal injury claim must be issued in the County Court, where in the country your claim could be commenced together with how claims can be transferred between County Courts and the final trial hearing heard at a different court.
Click County Court to ask me an online question about starting your claim in the County Court or to arrange a call back to discuss your compensation claim with me in person free of charge.