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The Claim is allocated to the Small Claims track / the Fast Track / the Multi-track [and is assigned to [name of Judge] for case management].

Almost every disputed claim is placed in one of three “tracks”. The directions which follow will have been tailored to the track selected.
Normally, Small Claims are those where no more than £5,000 is in dispute, Fast Track claims where no more than £25,000 is in dispute and Multi-track claims those involving more than that. However, a case may be allocated to a different track in some circumstances.
The figures stated above may change. In that case, these notes will be updated.
In Small Claims the procedure is fairly simple, the hearing will be quite informal and the amount of costs (legal costs and otherwise) which one party can be ordered to pay to another is normally very limited.
The Fast Track will only be chosen where the trial (final hearing) will not take more than one day. The procedure is streamlined accordingly. There are some limits on the costs which may be awarded, though they can still be substantial.
In the Multi-track, a case management judge may be named, who will normally deal with any matters arising as to the preparation of the case for trial.

At all stages the parties must consider settling this litigation by any means of Alternative Dispute Resolution (including Mediation); any party not engaging in any such means proposed by another must serve a witness statement giving reasons within 21 days of that proposal [and not less than 28 days before trial]; such witness statement must not be shown to the trial judge until questions of costs arise.

Parties have a continuing duty all through the proceedings to try to reach agreement. Coming to an agreement would, of course, avoid the expense and uncertainty of taking the case on to a trial.
Alternative Dispute Resolution means some procedure away from court intended to help the parties to do that. Mediation, where a trained Mediator chairs the parties’ discussions, is the commonest. The court office will have a list of Mediators in the court’s area.
If one party proposes this route, the other must respond. If he refuses the proposal, he must send a formal witness statement to the proposing party explaining his reasons. This may be shown to the trial judge when he considers costs.
A party refusing Alternative Dispute Resolution may be ordered to pay some (or even all) of the other’s costs, if the judge thinks the refusal was unreasonable, even if the party is successful at the trial.

[Name] is joined as the [Second] Defendant in this Claim.  Service on the [Second] Defendant will be effected / by the Court at [address] / forthwith by the Claimant.

The judge may add a further Defendant or Defendants – for example if the original Defendant says that it is another person who is liable. The order says how the claim form is to be served on the new Defendant(s).

The Claimant has permission to discontinue the claim against the [party] without liability for costs.

Usually, a Claimant can abandon the claim without the court’s permission but will be liable for the Defendant’s costs of defending it up to that point. Here, for some special reason, the judge allows it without that liability attaching.

The claim is transferred to the [Royal Courts of Justice Central Office Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court] [High Court and to the District Registry at [place] ] [[name] County Court] [for [further directions] [trial] [the hearing of any further applications and for the final hearing]].

Claims can be transferred from a county court or the High Court at a District Registry or in London to any county court or to the High Court at a District Registry or in London (but not to a court outside England and Wales). The direction may specify the purpose of the transfer.
If you wish to apply for transfer on the ground of convenience or expense to yourself, bear in mind that the judge will also take into account the convenience and expense to the other party or parties; and that a party ordered to pay costs may have to pay the expenses of both or all parties.

Because this Order has been made without a hearing, the parties have the right to apply to have the order set aside, varied or stayed.  A party making such an application must send or deliver the application to the court (together with any appropriate fee) to arrive within 7 days of service of this Order.

Often, directions orders are made when a judge considers papers filed in court, without a hearing. Any party can then, within 7 days, apply to have the directions changed or cancelled.
This paragraph, usually at the end of an order, reminds you that you can do this.

This claim is consolidated with claim number […..].  Claim number […..] is the lead claim.  All directions given in the lead claim will apply to both claims, unless otherwise stated.

If two claims have been issued relating to the same matters, it is sometimes convenient for them to be prepared and heard as one claim. The combined claim adopts the case number of the “lead” claim.

Costs in the case

Both or all parties’ expenses (including legal costs) relating to this particular hearing or direction will be treated as part of their costs relating to the claim generally and will be included in a party’s costs if another party is later ordered to pay them.

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