Guidance Note - County Court money claims - new procedure

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From 19 March 2012 there is a new procedure for issuing money claims in the county court.

 

The procedure applies to ‘designated money claims’.  These are:

• Part 7 claims
• for money only (specified and/or unspecified amount, including personal injury damages)
• to which no special procedures under the CPR apply (NB. Money Claim On-Line (PD7E) is not affected). 

 

HMCTS have issued this further clarification:

For ease of reference, the following types of claim should not be sent to CCMCC


• Any claim brought under CPR Part 8;
• Any claim brought in the High Court;
• Any claim where the remedy sought is (or includes, in addition to a money claim) a non-monetary remedy (e.g. an injunction or declaration, recovery of goods, specific performance of contracts, claims to change the terms of tenancy or bring about repossession,);
• Interpleader proceedings;
• Claims for pre-action disclosure or inspection;
• A Mesothelioma claim within the meaning of CPR PD3D;
• A claim started under CPR PD7B in relation to the Consumer Credit Act (return of goods claims) unless it is for money only;
• Claims for a settlement or compromise on behalf of a child or protected party under CPR Part 21;
• A defamation claim brought under CPR Part 53;
• Possession claims under Part 55;
• Arbitration Claims under Part 62;
• Claims under the European Small Claims Procedure (Part 78);
• Any claims brought in the county court but which fall within the scope of specialist lists in the High Court including
• Admiralty, Commercial and Mercantile claims;
• Chancery Claims;
• Technology and Construction Court claims and
• Patents Claims (and Patents County Court claims)


[See the respective guides to these jurisdictions that appear on the CPR pages on the Justice website – www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil.]

 


If your county court claim is not covered by one of the exclusions, it is a ‘designated money claim’ and must be issued through the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC), which will handle the claim up to allocation stage.

 

There is also a new concept of a ‘preferred court’.  All claims will be issued in the name of Northampton County Court but the claimant must specify a preferred county court to which the proceedings will be transferred if necessary.  See more on ‘preferred courts’ below.

 

CCMCC CONTACT DETAILS


The CCMCC is based in Salford.  You must send claims there to be issued unless the limitation period will expire in the next 5 days, in which case you can take the papers to a local county court to be stamped by them as received (this is the key date for limitation, rather than the actual issue date).  That county court will then send the papers on to Salford for processing. 

 

Send papers by post or DX to:

Salford Business Centre
P.O. Box 527
SALFORD
M5 0BY
Salford Business Centre
DX 702634 SALFORD 5

 


You must also send any subsequent documents on those claims, e.g. acknowledgments of service, defences, requests for judgment, allocation questionnaires to the CCMCC by post, DX or, if no fee is payable, by e-filing at the e-filing address below.

 

Any enquiries on cases proceeding at the CCMCC should be made to:

 

• email enquiries:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
• for e-filing and related enquiries:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Salford are expected to respond to email queries within 3 – 5 days.

 

There will also be a telephone help line, open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday – Friday for claims issued after 19 March 2012.  The helpline is based in Loughborough but can access the same case management system as Salford to answer queries.  The telephone number is 0300 123 1372.

 

FORMS

There is a new form N1 to be used from 19 March 2012, revised notes for claimant in form N1A and a new form N149 (small claims allocation questionnaire).  Insert ‘Northampton County Court’ in the Court box.  Put the name of the County Court where you want any hearings to take place in the ‘preferred Court’ box. 

 

Send to the CCMCC one copy of the claim form for the court file plus copies for service on each defendant.  If you want to serve the claim form yourself mark the court copy ‘Solicitors Service’, in case the covering letter and the claim form become separated.  Keep a copy of the claim form for the file as CCMCC will not return one to you (you will get a Notice of Issue instead). 

 

COURT FEES

Make sure you get the court fee right as refunds are not expected to be available from CCMCC.

 

Fees cannot yet be paid on account but a pilot scheme is running and it is expected to be available from the summer.  For the time being send cheque payments as usual.

 

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THE CCMCC?

Timescale for Issue – the target is to issue proceedings within 24 hours of receiving the papers.  You should therefore allow a minimum of about 4 days from putting the papers in the DX to receiving Notice of Issue.

 

Judicial activities – a Circuit Judge will oversee judicial activity at Salford.  There is a District Judge based on site and a rota of Deputy DJs who will deal with applications. 

 

The judges will deal with:


• applications to amend particulars of claim
• extensions of time for service (considered on paper and transferred out if hearing necessary)
• judgment to be set aside if entered by staff in error
• applications relating to third parties
• unless/sanction order on allocation questionnaires
• procedural advice
• applications for service out of the jurisdiction

 

They will not deal with:


• allocation to track
• any application that requires a hearing
• directions relating to hearings

 

AUTOMATIC TRANSFER FROM THE CCMCC

After allocation questionnaires have been filed – If the claim is for a specified sum and the defendant is an individual, the claim will be transferred to the defendant’s home court (or other court as specified by that defendant on their allocation questionnaire); or if there are two or more defendants, the action will be transferred to the home court of the defendant who lodged their defence first.

 

Otherwise, designated money claims will be automatically transferred to the claimant’s preferred court unless the allocation questionnaire(s) specify a different court.  If you want to use a different court, try to agree the choice of court with the other side before filing allocation questionnaires. 

 

Pre-allocation – If a hearing before a judge is needed before allocation, the CCMCC can transfer a claim to the preferred court, the defendant’s home court or another appropriate county court.   In certain situations that transfer will be automatic:

• Request for judgment after strike out and after admission (rr.3.5 and 3.5A and 14.7A) – If the claim is for an unspecified amount, the claim will be transferred to the preferred court upon the claimant filing the request

• Default judgment (rr.12.5 and 12.5A) – If the claim is for an unspecified amount, the claim will be transferred to the preferred court upon the claimant filing the request

• Application to set aside a judgment (r.13.4(1B)) – Where a defendant who is not an individual applies to set aside a judgment for a specified sum of money and the proceedings have not already been transferred, the claim will be transferred to the preferred court

• Application for time to pay following admission etc (rr.14.12 and 14.13) – Where a defendant who is not an individual makes an application for time to pay, the claim will be transferred to the preferred court for determination unless the claim has already been transferred to another court.  If the defendant is an individual then the claim will normally be transferred to the defendant’s home court

 

PRE-ACTION

Any applications that need to be issued pre-action under Part 23 may still be issued in any county court. 

 

ENFORCEMENT

The new arrangements also affect some methods of enforcement.  Applications for enforcement generally have to be filed in the court where the judgment was made.  This would overload Northampton County Court, as the nominated court for all designated money claims.  If, therefore, you want to enforce a judgment in a designated money claim that has not already been transferred away from Northampton County Court, you must follow the special provisions in a new Section 2 of PD70.

 

Applications for:


• An order to obtain information (Part 71)
• A third party debt order (Part 72)
• A charging order (Part 73)
• An attachment of earnings order

must be filed in the court for the district in which the judgment debtor resides or carries on business.

 

Request for issue of warrants of execution can be sent to the CCMCC if the claim has not already been transferred to another court.

 

Alison Ward

Cripps Harries Hall LLP

April 2012