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Starting a case

This content applies to England & Wales

Processes required for a client to take a case to court.


In most cases, a client can choose to start her/his claim in any county court.[1] However, the case may be transferred to somewhere more convenient for the defendant or more suitable for other reasons.[2]

Court office and staff

Every county court must have an office to deal with business relating to proceedings in the court. The office is normally open to the public from 10am to 4pm every day except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The administrative staff at the court office are responsible for tasks such as issuing claims, listing appointments and drawing up orders made in court. These staff are supervised by a court manager. All correspondence to the court should be addressed to the court manager.

Application to court

To begin a court case, a claim form is filled in by the claimant, returned to the court, a fee is paid (see the page on Court fees for more on these) and the court then serves documents on the defendant(s). These are all explained in detail in the relevant section below. The Civil Procedure Rules provide for three ways of starting a case:

All three procedures are explained fully in the relevant section.

[1] Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 7.

[2] Civil Procedure Rules, rules 30.2 and 30.3.

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