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Online claims

This content applies to England & Wales

Cases that can be started online.

At present two types of claim may be started online.

Part 7 money claims

Certain types of money claims made using the procedure under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules may be started online using the Money Claim Online (MCOL) service.[1] A claim may be started using MCOL where:[2]

  • no other remedy is claimed
  • the claim is in sterling and for a specified amount of money less than £100,000 (excluding interest and costs)
  • the claimant is not a child, patient, or funded by the Legal Aid Agency
  • the claim is against a single defendant, or two defendants if the claim is for a single amount against each of them
  • the defendant is not the Crown, or known to be a child or patient
  • the defendant's address for service is in England or Wales.

A claimant may access MCOL by completing and sending an online claim form, and electronically paying the appropriate issue fee (see below).[3] S/he must include the particulars of the claim on the online claim form (not file them separately); there is limited space for the particulars.[4]

The court will then send a hard copy of the claim from to the defendant(s), which will include an ID number and password that the defendant can use to access the claim on MCOL.[5] A defendant may then file the following documents online (or file the hard copies in the usual manner):[6]

  • an acknowledgement of service
  • a part admission
  • a defence, and/or
  • a counterclaim.

An admission of the whole claim cannot be made online; a defendant should either:

  • send payment in full (including any court fees, costs, and interest) directly to the claimant within 14 days, or
  • if s/he is requesting more time to pay, or that s/he be allowed to pay in instalments, complete a hard copy of form N9A and send it to the claimant. The form requires the defendant to give details of income, expenditure and other debts. The claimant can then either agree to the defendant's proposal, or ask the court to enter a judgment against the defendant specifying when s/he should pay.

A claimant who has started a claim using MCOL can request a judgment in default or on the defendant's admission of the whole claim,[7] and a warrant of execution using MCOL.[8]

Part 55 possession claims

Certain types of possession claims made using the procedure under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules may be started online using the Possession Claim Online (PCOL) service.[9] A claim may be started using PCOL where:[10]

  • it is brought under Section I of Part 55 (claims under the accelerated possession procedure and claims for Interim Possession Orders may not be started using PCOL)
  • it is a possession claim for residential property by a landlord against a tenant solely on grounds of rent arrears (but not a claim for forfeiture of a lease), or against a borrower solely on grounds of mortgage arrears
  • it does not include a claim for any other remedy, except for payment of the arrears, interest, and costs
  • the defendant has an address for service in England or Wales
  • the claimant can provide a postcode for the property
  • the defendant is not known to be a child or patient.

Where a claim is started using PCOL, the claimant must include the particulars of the claim on the online claim form (not filed separately).[11] The particulars should include a schedule detailing the full history of the rent or mortgage account,[12] unless the claimant has already provided the defendant with:[13]

  • in the case of rent arrears, a full history of the rent account, immediately before the claim was issued
  • in the case of mortgage arrears, the information required by 13.4.1 and 13.4.4 of the FSA Handbook, Mortgage Conduct of Business 13.[14]

Landlords cannot rely on quarterly rent statements as a fully history of the rent account. A full schedule must be submitted showing how the arrears have been calculated.[15]

If the above information has already been provided to the defendant, the particulars need only contain a summary of the arrears.[16] However, the claimant must also, within seven day of the claim being filed, provide the defendant with a full history of the rent or mortgage arrears. In addition evidence must be given to the court confirming that the defendant had been provided with the necessary information prior to the issue of the claim, so as to justify the inclusion of a summary only on the particulars.[17]

In a recent case where a landlord argued that it was not possible to fit the wording of the ground for possession relied upon in the space available on the PCOL form, the court held that the shortfalls of PCOL were not reason enough to breach the requirements of the CPR.[18]

PCOL will then issue the proceedings in the county court in the area in which the property is situated.[19]

The court will send a hard copy of the claim form to the defendant(s), which will include an ID number or password that the defendant can use to access the claim on PCOL.[20] A defendant may then file a defence, or a defence with a counterclaim, using PCOL (or file the hard copies in the usual manner).[21]

Where a claim has been started using PCOL, and a possession order made at the hearing which entitles the claimant to issue a warrant of possession without the permission of the court, the claimant may apply for a warrant of possession using PCOL.[22]

Where a claim has been started using PCOL, and the court has issued a warrant of possession, the defendant may apply for a suspension of the warrant using PCOL, provided that the application is made at least five days before the date set for the execution of the warrant and the defendant does not need the permission of the court to make such an application.[23] The court will then serve notice of the hearing on the claimant and defendant at least two days before the hearing.[24]

Fees

Where a fee is payable in respect of a claim or application, the claimant or defendant may pay the fee online using a credit or debit card.[25] If the claim is a money claim using MCOL, the fee for the issue of the claim form must be paid electronically online.[26] Where the claimant in a money claim wishes to apply for a fee exemption or reduction, s/he cannot use MCOL and must start the claim at a court office.[27]

[1] Rule 7.12 Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended).

[2] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.44.

[3] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.5.1.

[4] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.5.2.

[5] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.5.6 - 7e.5.7.

[6] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.6.1.

[7] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.13.1.

[8] Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.13.2.

[9] Rule 55.10A Civil Procedure Rules SI 1998/3132 (as amended).

[10] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.5.1 - 55b.5.2.

[11] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.2.

[12] As detailed in Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.3.

[13] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.3A.

[14] FSA Handbook, Mortgage Conduct of Business.

[15] Peabody Housing Trust v Rewah [2008] 5 March, unreported, Lambeth County Court.

[16] As detailed in Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.3B.

[17] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.3C.

[18] Bayliss v Martin; Places for People v Green, [2008] 11 March, unreported, Sheffield County Court. See SHLU, June 2008.

[19] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.11.

[20] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.6.7 and 55b.6.10.

[21] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.7.1.

[22] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.12.1.

[23] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.13.1.

[24] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 55b.13.5.

[25] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.3.1 and Practice Direction 55b.4.1.

[26] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.5.1(2).

[27] Civil Procedure Rules 1998 SI 1998/3132 (as amended), Practice Direction 7e.3.2.

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