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Petty Debts Court

About the Petty Debts Court​​​

If you are bringing a claim to Court without the help of a lawyer, you must follow this guidance. You are also advised to read Practice Direction 18/01 which provides further details on procedure.

Important information

The Petty Debts Court is located at the Magistrate's Court, Union Street, St Helier. The Court hears cases every Wednesday at 10am and is presided over by a Judge. You should address the Judge as Sir or Madam.

Greffiers sit in Court with the Judge and provide guidance on procedure to the public in person, by phone on +44 (0) 1534 440081 or by email at pdc@courts.je.

Greffiers can't give you legal advice. They can't answer questions such as: am I claiming from the right person? Do I have a good claim? How much money should I claim? If you have questions like these, you may wish to seek legal advice.

Petty Debts Court process

Interpreters

The Court will provide an interpreter for any Court hearing or mediation appointment, but you must let the Greffier know at least a week in advance of the set date. You will not be provided an interpreter if you come to Court to speak to a Greffier. You may wish to bring a friend to translate.

You can find leaflets translated into Polish, Portuguese and Romanian below.

​Polish

Przedstawienie roszczen

Nakaz stawiennictwa
Informacje ogolne
Mediacja

​Czyszczenie wlasnej oceny kredytowej

​Portuguese
Limpar a sua avaliacao de credito
Resumo da reclamacao
Notificacao
Informacao geral
Mediacao
​Romanian
​Rating de credit adecvat
Rezumat cerere
Cerere de chemare in judecata
Informatii generale
Mediere​

Useful links

Citizen's Advice can help you complete your forms or draft a document for the Court. They might also be able to arrange a free 30 minutes consultation with a lawyer who can advise you on the merits of your claim. Call +44 (0) 1534 724942 or visit cab.org.je.

Jersey Financial Services Commission can help you identify your Defendant and the registered address for their business. Call +44 (0) 1534 822000 or visit Jersey Financial Services Commission.

Petty Debts Court Rules 2018

Practice Direction 18/01

Types of claims you can bring to Court

There is a time limit to bring a claim to Court.

Claims for money owed: 10 years from the date the debt should have been paid.

Claims for injury: 3 years from when you first suffered injury.

Claims for money owed

You can bring a claim in the Petty Debts Court, for a breach of written or verbal agreement, for up to £30,000, for the following.

  • unpaid bills
  • rent
  • salary
  • arrears of maintenance

You can bring a claim for damages, such as loss of money resulting from an injury for up to £30,000.
For information, templates and forms to bring a claim for money owed to Court, go to bringing your claim to Court.

Evictions

You are a landlord seeking termination of a residential tenancy agreement and/or eviction of tenants

You can bring a claim in the Petty Debts Court for the termination of a residential tenancy agreement or eviction of tenants under the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011 if:

  • you (the landlord) want your property back before the tenancy agreement expires (Art 11)
  • your tenant has breached the terms of the agreement (Art 12). 
These types of claims are not limited in value, you may bring a claim regardless of how much the annual rent is or how much your tenants owe in rental arrears.

How to bring an eviction claim

Example of Notice to Quit, Summons Claim Summary (Art 11)

Example of Notice to Rectify the Breach, Summons Claim Summary (Art 12)

Evictions are not straightforward so the Greffier could recommend that you take legal advice.

For all eviction cases, your Summons must be served on the tenant(s) personally by the Viscount who will charge you a fee for this.

Contact the Greffier for any other type of agreement than residential tenancy (such as commercial leases).

You are a tenant and have received a Summons to attend Court

Your landlord is bringing a case to Court which could result in you being evicted from their property. On receiving a Summons you should:

  • call the Petty Debts Court Greffier on +44 (0) 1534 440081 to confirm you will attend on the date given on the Summons and ask any questions you have about the Court process,
  • contact the Legal Aid office on +44 (0) 1534 613999. If you are eligible for legal aid, they will provide you with an Advocate to assist you throughout the proceedings and speak on your behalf in Court for free,
  • contact Citizens Advice for assistance on +44 (0) 1534 724942 if you are not eligible for legal aid,
  • prepare a brief statement for the Judge detailing your personal and financial circumstances and your account of what has happened that led you landlord to take you to court.

If you fail to attend court on the date given on the Summons, an eviction Order could be granted in your absence.

Before bringing your claim to Court

What will it cost?

To bring a claim to Court, you must pay a Court fee. If your claim is not disputed by the Defendant, you can reclaim that Court fee from them, plus fixed costs which are a contribution for the time and effort spent in bringing your claim. Fees and fixed costs vary depending on how much your claim is for.

Court Fees and Fixed Costs

To pay your Court fee, you need to buy a Court receipt from Customer and Local Services, La Motte Street, St. Helier. They can be contacted on +44 (0) 1534 444444. You must bring your Court receipt with you when you bring your Summons and Claim Summary to Court (see bringing your claim to Court) for the Greffier who will need it to process your claim. If you withdraw your claim before 1pm on the Monday before the Court date, you will get your Court fee back.

Identifying your Defendant

As the person bringing the claim (the 'Plaintiff'), you must identify your Defendant correctly. If you don't, your claim may be dismissed and costs may be granted against you.

Your Defendant is the person or company you had a contract/agreement with.

Be careful! Even if you have dealt with an individual, the person may be acting for a company.

Your Defendant can be a person, a person with a trading name or a limited company.

You may wish to contact the Jersey Financial Services Commission on +44 (0) 1534 822000 or go to Jersey Financial Services Commission for help to identify your Defendant. If your Defendant doesn't reside in Jersey, different rules apply and you should call the Greffier for advice.

Sending a claim letter to your Defendant

Before you bring a claim to Court, you must post a claim letter to your Defendant. Your claim letter will advise them that you will bring a claim to the Petty Debts Court if they fail to pay the money owed within 7 days (for a claim up to £10,000) or within 14 days (for a claim above £10,000).

This letter must contain:

  • your full name and address,
  • the correct full name and address for your Defendant,
  • a clear description of your claim,
  • the amount of money you are claiming,
  • an invitation to resolve the dispute without having to go to Court.

Bringing your claim to Court

Preparing your Summons Claim Summary

Before you can bring your Defendant to Court, you must let the 7 days or 14 days given in your claim letter pass. If no payment has been received at the end of this period and you wish to bring a claim, you must complete a Summons and a Claim Summary.

Guidance notes are available to help you complete the forms.

A list of examples will help you to describe your claim depending on what it is in relation to.

If your claim is for arrears of maintenance

If your ex-partner owes you child maintenance and/or sums relating to other expenses for your child and you have an Order from the Royal Court (Family Division) or a private agreement with them, the process for bringing a claim to the Petty Debts Court is the same as for any other monetary claim but you should complete a specific Summons and Claim Summary.

When you come to the Magistrate's Court to have your claim processed, you should bring a copy of your Royal Court Order or private agreement.

If you have an earlier Petty Debts Court Judgment in relation to arrears of maintenance, contact the Greffier for guidance on how to apply to the Court for an ongoing wage arrest against your ex-partner. This could prevent you from having to take them to Court again in the future. The Greffier can give you the forms required to do this.

Having your case listed for Court

Once you have completed your Summons and Claim Summary and have paid your Court fee, bring them to the Magistrate's Court Greffe with a copy of your claim letter (this should be no older than 3 months) and a stamped envelope addressed to your Defendant(s).

The Greffier will give you a date for your case to be heard and will post your Summons to the Defendant (for eviction cases, see evictions guidance regarding personal service).

If the Defendant pays the debt before the hearing date, you must immediately contact the Greffier so that the case can be removed from the list.

What happens next?

Your first Court hearing

Unless your claim is settled before the hearing date, you must attend in person or be represented by a lawyer. A friend or relative can't attend on your behalf.

If you feel you or your Defendant would benefit from an interpreter, ensure you inform the Court at least a week before the hearing date (see interpreters guidance).

If the Defendant does not attend, you may ask the Court for a Judgment ordering them to pay the sum claimed, together with your Court fee and fixed costs.

If the Defendant attends, the Judge will ask you both to briefly explain your claim and defence. They will not make a decision that day, so you don't need to bring all of your evidence for your claim or defence.

If the Defendant contests the claim (denies that the money is owed, either in full or part), the Court will ask both parties whether you are prepared to attend mediation. If you both agree, a date will be set for mediation to take place.

Mediation

The vast majority of cases brought to Court each year are resolved at mediation. It is a free service offered by the Court to give parties a chance to resolve their dispute and avoid spending a long time preparing for a stressful and potentially costly trial.

At your appointment, you and your Defendant work with a trained neutral mediator who listens to your views and helps you to negotiate a settlement. The mediator won't try to force you to reach an agreement.

For mediation to work, you should:

  • participate in good faith with the intention of finding an agreement,
  • work with the mediator to find a solution,
  • listen to the points raised by the other party,
  • be willing to compromise,
  • have the authority to agree a settlement.

If you resolve the dispute at mediation, you and your Defendant will sign a mediation agreement, the terms of which are binding. This means you must comply with them.

If mediation fails, your case will progress to trial.

Mediations leaflet

Going to Trial

Pleadings

If you are going to trial, the Court will order the Plaintiff to prepare a Statement of Claim and the Defendant to reply to the Statement of Claim in an Answer (this may also include a Counterclaim). These documents are called Pleadings.

The Court will set a timetable to allow you to complete your Pleadings. These Court Orders, which you must comply with, are called Directions and will be given to you in writing.

Guidance on how to prepare your Pleadings.

Directions hearing

At the next Court hearing, the Judge will look at your Pleadings and confirm if they explain your claim and the defence (and any counterclaim) well enough for the trial Judge to understand the case and, if so, the Judge will set a new timetable that requires you to produce all documents you will rely on at the trial. These documents are called your evidence. The Judge will also fix a date for the trial and ask if you wish to bring any witnesses. There is a fee of £30 payable by the Plaintiff on listing the claim for trial.

If the Pleadings are unclear or information is missing, the Judge may adjourn the case to allow more time for you or the Defendant to amend your Pleadings.

Trial

On the day of your trial, you and your witnesses will take the oath (or be affirmed) to give evidence. The Judge might ask you to clarify some aspects of your claim or evidence and the other party will ask you questions. This is called cross-examination. Once both parties (and their witnesses) have given evidence, the Court will either give its decision and explain its reasons or adjourn the case to make its decision.

Once the decision has been made, the Greffier will prepare an Act of Court detailing the Judgment and will inform you when you can collect it from the Court.

The Plaintiff must pay a £300 trial fee (per day or part of the day) if their claim is for £3,000 or more. Most trials last one day.

Costs after Trial

In the Petty Debts Court, the successful party can generally claim their costs from the unsuccessful party.

If you are not successful, in addition to the Defendant's costs, you may be required to pay their legal fees, if they were represented by a lawyer.

The amount of costs you can claim if you are successful can be found in our leaflet.

Practice Direction 18/01 also gives more details about costs awards.

Frequently asked questions

The following section is designed to answer questions that don't relate to bringing a claim to Court. If you have any other questions, contact the Petty Debts Court Greffier on pdc@courts.je.

I have received a Summons, what should I do?

If you owe the money but forgot to pay, you should contact the person or company taking you to Court and pay immediately. The Plaintiff has until 1pm on Monday before the Court date to withdraw their claim.

If you don't agree you owe the money claimed (or part of it), you must come to Court to defend the claim on the date in the Summons. You should also contact the Greffier to let them know you will attend.

If you do not attend, the Judge might give Judgment against you for the full sum claimed, plus costs.

I have a Judgment from the Petty Debts Court, how do I get it enforced?

If the Court granted a Judgment against a person or a company in your favour, you must collect the Judgment from the Court and take it to the Viscount's Department so that they can enforce it. They may either arrest the Defendant's wages or seize their assets and sell them.

How can I clear my credit rating?

A Judgment stays on your record for 10 years and affects your credit rating.

Paying the debt alone will not make the Judgment disappear.

There are two ways that you can clear your rating; both involve bringing the case back to Court.

  1. If you agree that you owe the money and pay the debt to the person or company who took the Judgment against you, they may apply to the Court to abandon the Judgment.
  2. If you believe you do not owe the money (or part of it) and were unaware of the claim, you may ask the Court to set aside the Judgment. You will need a genuine reason not to have been in Court on the day the Judgment was taken and must be able to put forward a solid defence to the claim. This is a more complex and costly process than applying to abandon the Judgment.

You can find more about the processes for clearing your credit rating in our leaflet.



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