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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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If a claimant discountinues a case allocated to the Small Claims

Resolved Question:

If a claimant discountinues a case allocated to the Small Claims Court and Small Claims Track, is he liable for the defendants costs ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
how much is the amount of the claim?
is the defendant asking for "wasted costs"?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The original claim is for £3475.91. The defendant isn't asking for anything yet, as I haven't discountinued the case. I'm just thinking about discontinuation as an option, since after viewing the defence they have submitted, their case seems stronger than mine on legal points.


My understanding for Small Claims Court is that to discontinue I simply need to fill in a form N279 and submit it to the defendant and the court and that's it. The defendant can't ask for costs since they are not entitled under the special rules for the Small Claims Court. However, the point of my question was to clarify this.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.






Your understanding is almost correct however costs can be awarded
in the Small Claims Court if the judge thinks that the party has been
unreasonable. I will tell you that a person has to be extremely unreasonable
for costs to be awarded and it is most unusual for them to actually be awarded.



What I would do is write to the defendant and tell them that you
are prepared to consider dropping your claim and filing form N279 provided they
agree not to pursue any wasted costs bearing in mind that costs are not awarded
in the Small Claims Court in any event.



The reason for mentioning the costs to the defendant is purely to
focus their mind because the last thing you want is for you to withdraw your
claim and for them to then make an application for an order for costs (which is
likely to fail in any event) but with which you will have to deal.



Does that answer the question? Can I help further?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The hearing date is set for 26th November. I have paid a Hearing Fee of £325 to the court. I understand I can get that back if the case is settled or discontinued no later than 7 days before the hearing date. Since part of the reason for discontinuing the case is to minimise costs all round, what if I don't have a response from the defendant to my offer soon enough to issue the discontinuance form before the 19/7/2013, being the 7 day hearing fee reimbursement deadline ? Should I unilaterally issue the N279 and hope for the best ?
What if the defendant refuses to waive any claim for costs ?
I would also have thought the early offer to discontinue would work in the claimants favour in any consideration of any costs.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.






To be honest, the defendant would be stupid not to reply or to make
an application for costs.



If he does not reply, I would unilaterally issue the form N279, and
if he makes an application for costs, simply defend it.

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 20643
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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