Civil Claims: Commencement of proceedings

Introduction to commencing proceedings

Proceedings are commenced usually by issuing a claim form. Issuing involves the court sealing the form with its official seal. This is an important event, because it stops time running for limitation purposes, and starts time running for service. Generally, a claim form must be served within four months of being issued.

Which court?

Proceedings are issued in the High Court or the County Court. The High Court can generally be used in money claims with a value exceeding £15,000. A major exception is personal injuries cases, which can only be started in the High Court if they have a value exceeding £50,000.

The claim form

For most proceedings there is a general purpose claim form. A completed claim form will:

  • Set out the names and addresses of the respective parties;
  • Give a concise statement of the nature of the claim;
  • State the remedy sought; and
  • Contain a statement of value where the claim is for money. 

In personal injuries claims the amount expected for pain, suffering and loss of amenity must be stated as being either below or above £1,000.

Particulars of claim

It can be included in the claim form or be set out in a separate document.

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For more information on:

  • Issuing the claim form
  • Money Claim online
  • Filing