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What is a petty debt claim?

There are a number of things which will help you decide if your claim is a petty debt and can be dealt with by the petty debts process.

A petty debt claim is one where the value of the claim is not more than £10,000.

Examples of claims you can make include:
•    Claims for debts;
•    Claims for faulty goods;
•    Claims for unsatisfactory workmanship;
•    Claims for damage to your property;
•    Claims for arrears of child maintenance;
•    Damage to vehicles caused in Road traffic incidents.

Excluded Claims
There are cases which may seem to fall into the petty debts category but which are excluded. Listed below are some of the most common types of claims that cannot be made using the petty debts process:

•    Claims for libel or slander;
•    Claims concerning the title to land;
•    Claims where the matter has been sent to the Royal Court;
•    Claims involving a legacy or annuity;
•    Claims in relation to the property of a marriage.

There may be other instances when a claim cannot be used or where a petty debts claim may only be made with the judge's permission. If you need further information on excluded claims you should speak to an advocate.

Staff at the Royal Court Client Services Team can help by explaining the petty debts process but cannot give you legal advice.

Landlords are advised to read and understand their tenancy agreements, specifically checking for an arbitration clause, before proceeding with a petty debt claim.


Who are the parties involved?

The 'Plaintiff' refers to any Applicant or other person bringing civil proceedings of any sort before the Magistrate's Court. The 'Defendant' includes any Respondent to an application before the Court or any Debtor. A Defendant will be liable to pay Court fees in respect of proceedings begun by him, for example a counter-claim or counter-application, as if he were a Plaintiff.