Part of our How to take a claim in the civil court series

Evidence needed to sue someone

This guide will help you to understand what evidence you will need if you are taking someone to court, why you need it, and what you need to do with it. It is part of series about taking someone to the civil court to sort out a problem or disagreement. You can make a civil claim about money owed, broken contracts (often called ‘a breach of contract’), compensation, and personal injury - including road traffic accidents and workers compensation. You might take someone to the small claims court, or use the fast-track process in a county court.

This is just one of our resources to help you sort out a dispute in a civil court.

If you haven’t already, check out the first guide in this series which contains vital information about the pros and cons of taking someone to court. It also explains some of the key things you need to know before you go any further. The rest of this series about taking a claim in the civil court can be found on our Going to a civil court page

This guide is for you if you:

  • thinking about taking someone to court in either England or Wales, and
  • your case involves a claim for £25,000 or less, and
  • you are representing yourself (you are a litigant in person) and not eligible to have your case paid for by legal aid, a trade union, or insurance.

This guide is also for people supporting litigants in person, for example Support Through Court volunteers, Citizens Advice volunteers, housing support workers, advice workers and court staff, as well as relatives and friends.

Top tip
 – Have a look at An overview of the process of taking a claim in the civil court to get an overview of what a typical case might look like and How to take a claim in the civil court - at a glance .

This guide is not for you if you are involved in:

  • a case which involves a clain for more than £25,000,
  • a criminal case,
  • a family case (such as an application for a domestic violence injunction or a divorce),
  • a housing disrepair or housing possession case including mortgage possession,
  • an injunction (including court claims about anti-social behaviour)
  • a medical accident case,
  • a case involving defamation (that is libel or slander) or
  • a tribunal case (such as a discrimination or employment case).

Legal language

We try to explain any legal language as we go along, but there is also a ‘What does it mean?’ section at the end.

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March 2024


What is evidence?

Evidence is information or materals relevant to proving the facts of your case to the court. This may include information that does not support your case – information that may end up helping the other side.

If you start a civil claim you have to prove the facts that form the basis of your claim unless your opponent agrees with (or admits) some or all of them. You do this by collecting and providing the court with relevant information. This information is called evidence.

This is just one of our resources to help you sort out a dispute in a civil court. If you haven't already, check out Should I sue someone? which looks at the pros and cons of taking someone to court. It also explains some of the key things you need to know before you go any further. 

It is not enough for you to say you know or believe something is true. If you want the court to decide in your favour you need evidence to support:

  • what you say happened,
  • why it’s someone’s elses (the defendant’s) fault,
  • the loss the defendant has caused you, and
  • the costs and expenses you have had to pay.

Evidence gives the court a reason for believing that:

  • Something did or did not happen.
  • A ‘fact’ is or is not true.
  • Someone other than you (the defendant) caused the problem.
  • You have suffered the losses or expenses you claim.
  • The defendent should compensate you for your loss. 
Proving your case

When you take someone to court, it is your job (or burden) to prove your case by producing relevant evidence to support what you say happened and to show the loss you were caused and the expenses you have had to pay. Lawyers call this ‘the burden of proof’.

Claimant = person or organisation who starts the case.

Defendant = person or organisation the case is brought against.

The judge must decide whether your version of events or the defendant’s is more likely than not to be correct. Judges very rarely say that a party or witness is lying. They usually just say which version of events they prefer. To win a civil claim, you have to prove your case to a level of proof called ‘the balance of probabilities’. This means that your account and the evidence in support of it is more likely than not to be true. You may hear this level of proof called ‘the standard of proof’ or ‘the civil standard of proof’. 

The need to show that your case is more likely than not to be correct applies both to proving that the problem is legally the defendant’s fault (called ‘liability’) and how much your claim is worth (called ‘quantum’).

You do not have to prove your case ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. This is a different and higher standard of proof that applies to criminal cases only. So, in a civil claim, you do not have to show that your version of events is almost certainly correct, only that it is more likely than not to be correct.

There are rules about when you produce your evidence. Each side (or ‘party’ as the law calls them) is expected to exchange key documents during the pre-action protocol stage’. This is the stage before a formal claim is started.  At this point you will also be letting each other know what your arguments are.

If you do not sort out your dispute in the pre-action stage, for example, by coming to an agreement, and you start court proceedings, a judge will set a timetable (called ‘directions’) for the things that need to happen well before the trial. This will include the exchange of documents between each side, and then (if appropriate) the exchange of witness statements, and then expert evidence. You cannot leave it until the last minute to provide the defendant with evidence, to surprise or ambush them.

Pre-action protocols and conduct – rules about what you need to do before you start a claim. You can read more about them in Things you need to know about court procedure before you sue someone.

The different kinds of evidence

Courts have rules about what they accept as evidence. This is to make sure that judges only consider fair, reliable and relevant evidence when making their decision.

Documentary evidence

Documentary evidence is written information, which can be paper or digital for example:

  • estimates
  • receipts
  • invoices
  • repair quotes
  • letters, emails, texts, faxes, notes
  • payslips, timesheets (or accounts If you are self-employed)
  • a diary or calendar
  • written agreements
  • bank statements
  • photographs, video clips, voice recordings, CCTV recordings
  • diagrams
  • medical records
  • an organisation's policies, procedures

Sometimes you will not have the evidence yourself, so you have to ask someone else to provide it. For example, if you need a copy of your medical records, you will have to ask your GP or treating hospital for them. And if you need copies of your payslips, perhaps because you have mislaid the originals, you will have to ask your employer, who may be the defendant.

Real evidence

Real evidence is an object you use to prove or disprove a disputed fact. For example, a fault part used to repair your fridge unsuccessfully or damaged belongings. Real evidence is also sometimes used to prove it exists (for example, if you have a bike accident, it would be sensible to keep your bike if it was damaged in the collision, and the clothing that was ruined by the accident, to prove the damage). You may also hear this kind of evidence called tangible evidence.

Real evidence is also sometimes used to show evidence of condition, which helps to show an item’s value. For example, if you say your nearly new designer bag was ruined, and the defendant says it was old and a fake and worth very little, you need to hold on to the ruined bag until the other side has had an opportunity to inspect it. In most cases, it will be sufficient to just submit a photograph of the real evidence. However, it is a good idea to keep it and offer it for inspection by the defendant or the judge.

What will a court accept as documentary or real evidence?

Evidence has to be relevant

The court is only interested in you using evidence which is relevant to the issue of liability (who is legally responsible or to blame) or value (how much your case is worth) in your case. If you try and use evidence that is not relevant the court is likely to reject it. You have a duty to tell the other side about relevant evidence, even if it harms your case or supports the defendant’s case. The defendant has an equal duty to tell you about evidence, even if it harms their case or supports yours. 

Evidence has to be ‘admissible’

 'Admissible' is a legal word which is used to describe evidence that is allowed to be used in court. For instance, evidence may not be admissible if it was got improperly or illegally. Sometimes the sides in a case may disagree about whether something (for example, a secret recording) is or is not admissible and the court has to decide whether to allow it or not.

Just because a court (or a defendant) accepts that you can use something as evidence doesn’t mean they are agreeing that what you say or show them is right or proves anything. That is something they still have to decide.

What’s a bit confusing is that you sometimes hear lawyers talk about something being ‘admitted as evidence’ meaning that the court (and defendant) accept you can use something as evidence. But you also hear lawyers saying, for example, that the defendant ‘admits’ something meaning that the defendant agrees that what you are saying is correct and that they don’t dispute that particular part of your case.

Collecting and preserving evidence

‘I sat on an office chair and it just collapsed under me. I hurt the base of my spine and was off work for a month. By the time I got back, all the office furniture had been renewed – they said it was a routine upgrade after five years – and my chair had vanished. They denied any of the furniture was defective, and that I’d just been clumsy. I wish now I’d got my friend to get the caretaker to put the chair to one side.’

Try to collect and preserve evidence as soon as possible where there’s a possibility the evidence may disappear. If you have an accident at work, get colleagues to take photographs and where appropriate get the defective equipment saved. For example, you may need to ask the caretaker to label and store an item while the accident is investigated or write to your line manager asking them to make sure the item that caused your accident is not disposed of.

Make sure you complete an accident report form or fill in the accident book If you have an accident at work. Every employer with more than 10 employees is required by law to keep an accident report book or set of forms, which they are required to make available to you to complete. Or you can ask a colleague to complete it for you, for example, if you are off sick or in hospital. If your employer completes it, you should check what they have said and put your own comments in writing to them if it is inaccurate.

If you have an accident elsewhere, get friends to take photographs in case street signs get changed, or potholes are repaired before you can get there. Use a coin such as a 50p piece or a tape measure in your photos to show the height of what you tripped over or the depth of a hole in the street or road.

If you have paper evidence such as receipts which are on paper likely to fade, make sure you take photocopies or photographs before that happens.

If you have anything such as texts or photos on your phone, make sure you back them up or print them off (see our guide to How to print from your phone). And make sure you back up and store any electronically held evidence safely somewhere other than just on the original device, for example on a separate hard disk, PC, or on the cloud.

You have a duty to preserve all relevant evidence, not just evidence which supports your case.

Witness evidence

If you need to prove something and:

  • you don’t have any documents to help you, or
  • you have documents or real evidence but it needs to be explained,

you may need to prepare witness evidence. It is what you or another witness say to the court about your case.

Witness evidence takes two forms. Witness staements and oral evidence.

Witness statements

You have to prepare witness statements from all your witnesses well before the trial. There are rules about what a witness statement should look like and include. Both sides have to exchange the witness statements which have been prepared for their own witnesses to help each other see the strength and weaknesses of each other’s cases. 

Each witness’s evidence has to be about the facts and based on their own knowledge or belief. Witnesses must make it clear whether what they say in their statement is from their own knowledge, or a matter of information or belief. They must also say what the information or belief is based on.

It needs to be clear, logical and in language the witness understands and would use themselves. It must reflect what they told you and not be ‘spun’ into something similar but which suits your case better. You must not tell a witness what you want them to say or put words into their mouth.

Check that any witness who can give information to support your case understands their role. If necessary, are they willing to attend court? Sometimes people who are happy to talk to you about what they saw or heard are reluctant or refuse to help when they realise you want to write down what they have told you in a statement and get them to sign it.

It may help to explain to your witness that they could make the difference between you winning or losing your case.

You should not include statements which are just your opinion about something. Only an expert witness, such as an engineer or a doctor can do this, when they give evidence about something they are experts in, and which is relevant to the dispute. For example, a medical expert’s opinion about whether or not you will fully recover from an accident.

Where possible choose an independent witness (not a member of your family or a friend) to give evidence because unlike your family and friends they don’t have an interest in the outcome. If the only witnesses are family or friends, and sometimes they will be the only witnesses, you need to do your best to ensure that their witness statements are as factual and neutral as possible.

It may be that you are the only person other than the defendant who was involved in the relevant events. In that case, you may need to prepare a witness statement for yourself, explaining to the court any points which you are unable to deal with using documents, or where you do have documents, but they need explaining. You might find it helpful to produce a formal witness statement, or at the very least a comprehensive account of your evidence, very soon after the incident has occurred and certainly well before a statement is needed for formal proceedings. This is because

1)      it allows you to ensure that you include everything that is relevant in your statement when you come to draft it as you are drafting it from an  account which you made at the time, and,

2)      it stops your evidence from becoming confused with the passage of time (which is perfectly natural).

Some claims might take years to reach a final hearing from the time that the incident occurred and it is therefore sensible to gather your evidence as soon as possible.  

Try to get witness statements as early as possible, especially if from strangers. Witnesses are likely to be able to recall details more easily shortly after an incident than if you ask them some time afterwards. If your witnesses include strangers they may no longer be contactable at the contact details they have given you, or they may lose interest or change their minds about helping if you leave it too long.

Oral evidence

Oral evidence is spoken evidence. You may also hear this kind of evidence called oral testimony or witness evidence.

Witnesses may be required to give oral evidence at trial about the things they have said in their witness statement, if the other party does not accept the witness’s evidence and wishes to cross-examine them.

The advantages of calling a witness are that, if you get as far as a trial, they may give clear, direct evidence that supports your case. The disadvantages are that your witness may be vague, forgetful, unsure, frightened, or panicky. They may not turn up or end up being more useful to your opponent than you.

On the small claims track, as a rule, your witness statement, or that of your witnesses, will stand as the 'evidence in chief' for that individual - this is just a fancy way of saying that what is contained within the witness statement is the evidence of that person and cannot usually be added to. A judge might allow you clarify some points within your witness statement, but you will not be able to add new evidence at the final hearing which is not already within the witness statements. You will, however, be able to ask the defendant and their witnesses questions on what is contained within their statements to help you prove your case.


Hearsay is second-hand evidence, where a witness gives evidence of a fact based on what was said to them by someone else.

Example of hearsay evidence

‘I got a local handyman to do some house repairs while I was out at work. He invoiced me for five hours work, but my neighbour told me that she had been chatting to the handyman, and he had told her it was only two hours’ work, and he was expecting to be on his way before lunch’.

So, if the neighbour will not or can not be a witness, that part of your witness statement which includes the neighbour’s account will be ‘hearsay.’

A civil court accepts hearsay evidence, as long as:

  • the hearsay evidence is contained in a witness statement, and when you provide that statement to the other side you explain why you will not be calling the witness to give evidence in person at the trial, or
  • Or the hearsay evidence will be given as oral evidence by a witness at trial and you formally tell the other side what the hearsay evidence is beforehand, and
  • You give notice to the court that you will be using it.

These rules about using hearsay evidence do not apply if you are using the small claims track.

The court is likely to give hearsay evidence much less weight than other forms of evidence, because it is not something you saw or heard yourself.  

See our guide to writing or using witness statements and expert reports for information about witness and expert evidence.

Expert evidence

If you need to prove something which requires technical or specialist knowledge, and which the judge may need specialist help with, you may need to consider asking for court permission to rely on the evidence of an expert. For instance, if you are in dispute with a surveyor because you believe that their Homebuyer’s Report was negligently prepared, you may need an expert surveyor to back up your case.

An expert witness must be someone independent, who was not involved in the circumstances leading up to the claim. The expert’s overriding duty is to the court, which means that they are there to help the judge make the right decision, not to help you win your case.

The court will have to authorise your use of expert evidence and will do so only where expert evidence is reasonably required to resolve the claim.

Instructing an expert can be expensive so you will need to weigh up the cost against the potential value of the claim. It may be appropriate to use a single joint expert to keep costs down. This means one expert, who both sides will give instructions to and ask questions of.

Expert evidence is presented in a similar way to witness evidence. The expert will produce a report and, if necessary, they may also give oral evidence at the trial. 

Anticipating what the other side might say

 You need to think about what points the other side may make to support their version of events and what evidence you need to collect to disprove what they say.

Jas's story

‘I work in a shop and I've been there three years. I'm on a rota for different jobs, being on the till, or staffing the changing room, for example. We get given our rotas fortnightly. On Tuesday 14 May I was down to be on the till, so I wore my slip-on mules as they are comfortable and I would be standing all day. When I was on a break, my manager told me that as they were short-staffed, I would have to bring down stock which meant going up a ladder to the stock area. I said I wasn't suitably dressed (as well as my mules, I had a short skirt on) but she insisted. My friend Mia was with me in the staff room when she said it. I've never been told to work outside my rota'd duties before. On my third or fourth time coming down the ladder I slipped and fell and hurt my back and I've been off work since. I should never have been asked to go up that ladder, it's all their fault.’

Jas’s employer is likely to say that the accident was her own fault because she came to work inappropriately dressed. Jas needs to anticipate this point and be prepared.

She should:

  1. produce her rota showing she was to be on the till. If she doesn't have it anymore, she should ask her employer to produce it.
  2. get a witness statement from her friend Mia. This should include what Mia overheard said between the manager and Jas say, that staff were on a rota and not expected to do work outside the rota, and that Jas's clothing and footwear were normal and acceptable workwear for being on the shop floor.
Do I have to prove everything?

The court only wants you to use your time (and theirs!) to prove those parts of your claim which the other side disputes.

One of the important reasons for communicating with the other side before you issue a claim is to identify exactly what you disagree about. (You can find some information about pre-action conduct and protocols - in our guide to the rules about what you need to do before a civil claim.)

For example, if you claim you lent your neighbour £1,000 for two months, and they formally agree in writing that this is correct, then you do not have to prove the debt, the amount owed, or the date they were due to repay it. Your neighbour has admitted all the facts. You are taking them to court simply because they have not paid it back.

But if the same neighbour agrees there was a loan but they borrowed £750 not £1,000 then you have the job of proving that the loan was for £1,000 not £750. And if the neighbour agrees they had money from you, but says it was a gift not a loan, you have the job of proving it was a loan not a gift.

Identifying the evidence you will need to prove your case

If you are not sure what evidence you will need to support your case, think through the stages:

  • What do I need to prove someone else is at fault (what the law calls 'liability')?
  • What do I need to prove my losses and expenses (what the law calls 'quantum')?
  • What do I need to ask someone else or the defendant to provide me with so that I can prove fault and how much my losses and expenses were?

We can not tell you what evidence you will need to prove your particular case. But we hope that these case studies will help you decide what to collect.

Bethan’s story

‘My builder mended the roof on my house six months ago. After a couple of months, I realised that it was still leaking. It wasn’t as bad as it had been but clearly the problem hadn’t been solved and I was worried it would get worse if left. Ever since then I have been trying to persuade him to come back and fix the problem. The first time I phoned him, we had a friendly chat, I explained the problem and he said he would be round to sort it out. I have phoned him several times since but now he won’t speak to me anymore. I can’t afford to pay someone else to correct his mistakes and I can’t start climbing ladders to see if I can sort it out myself.’

At this point, Bethan is not sure exactly what she’s in dispute with the builder about because he isn’t responding to her calls. She doesn’t really know what he meant when he said he’d ‘sort it out’. So, if she decides to start court proceedings, she has to prepare her case as though he disagrees with everything. She will need:

  • Something to show what work the builder agreed to do. The original written estimate or quote may provide the best evidence of this. Bethan may also, for example, have some emails that help prove this. (This is evidence that there was a contract and what it was for.)
  • Something showing that she paid his bill when the work was completed, for example, a receipted invoice or a bank statement showing the amount transferred into the builder’s account. (This is evidence that Bethan paid him – that she carried out her part of the contract.)
  • Something that supports what she says about the various problems with the roof. The judge will not visit Bethan’s home to look for him or herself. She has to find a way to bring the evidence to the judge. She should get a set of dated photographs showing water dripping through the roof and any new staining since the original work was done. This used to be a costly arrangement with photographers, but photos taken on a mobile phone and printed with dates are perfectly acceptable. (This is evidence of the problem – liability)
  • Alternatively, or in addition to the photographs, she should find another builder, or preferably two builders, and get estimates from them confirming that there is a problem, what the problem is, and what it will cost to put right. (This is evidence of liability and the value of her claim)

Bethan could write a witness statement herself describing what happens when it rains,  and when it started (evidence of liability).

In the box below we link the key facts Bethan needs to prove to the evidence she needs to support what she says:



Builder to repair defective roof replacing 20 tiles

Evidence of the existence of a contract and what it was for:

  • Written quotation from builder
  • Record of telephone call (Bethan’s phone bill, Bethan’s note of what was said in the call if she has one)
  • Email exchange agreeing quotation and date for work

If Bethan agreed the work with the builder in person and there are no documents, she will need to prepare a short witness statement explaining what was agreed.

Work carried out

Builder’s emailed invoice

Bethan paid the bill by bank transfer

Bethan’s record of bank transfer (printout of bank statement - Bethan is allowed to cover up irrelevant transactions.)

This is evidence that Bethan fulfilled her part of the contract by paying the builder’s bill.

Bethan redecorated the room where the leak stained the ceiling and wall

Fortunately, Bethan kept the receipts for the decorating materials totalling £249, and her nephew who decorated the room agrees to give her a witness statement confirming the date when he did the job.

This is evidence of liability – that is, the decorating was carried out after the repair, and quantum – that is, the cost of the decorating that needs to be done again.

Bethan makes several calls to builder

Bethan needs her phone records of calls to the builder if available. (See How to print from your phone)

This is to show that she tried to resolve the problem without resorting to taking him to court.

The new fresh stains are small but spreading

Bethan takes pictures on her mobile phone week by week and will arrange to have them printed.

This is evidence of damage.

Ideally Bethan would like to see the builder finish the job

Bethan gets estimates from two other roofers setting out the repairs needed and what they will charge. They both say that Bethan’s builder replaced the tiles, but his work disturbed and damaged lead and cement flashing on the roof, which will need to be replaced at a cost of £600.

It is likely to help the court understand the problem if Beth prepares a short witness statement setting out what has happened and filling in any gaps where the documents do not tell the whole story.

As the repair to Bethan’s roof will cost under £10,000 her case is a small claim. This means that she will not be allowed to use an expert’s report unless she obtains the court’s permission. Given the costs involved it may well be more appropriate to rely on the evidence of photos and the estimates from other roofers to show what repairs are needed and how much they will cost. The good news for her is that she can prepare her case more informally.

Possible outcomes

  • Bethan shows the estimates and receipts to her builder who agrees to carry out the repairs, and offers to pay £180 towards the cost of redecorating which Bethan agrees to bring an end to the dispute, or
  • The builder continues to be un-cooperative, despite Bethan following the pre-action conduct procedure and Bethan decides to take him to court for the cost of repairs and redecorating. Even if she starts a claim, Bethan does not lose the option of trying to negotiate a deal with the builder at a later date, or
  • Bethan decides to take no action against the original builder, to pay for another roofer and fresh decoration, and put it down to a bad experience.

Shafiq's story

‘I was cycling along the road between home and work when I hit a deep pothole and was thrown off my bike. I injured my knee as a result and my bike was damaged. Someone called an ambulance and I was taken to hospital. I want to make a claim against the council for failing to maintain and repair the area. The road surface was dangerous.’

Shafiq will need evidence to support his claim if he decides to start court proceedings. In particular he will need something to show:

  • when and where the accident took place, for example, an ambulance or police record, or a witness statement from Shafiq or someone who witnessed the accident.
  • what caused the accident and where it took place - photos of the pothole and photos/a sketch plan of the scene of the accident, a witness statement.
  • the injury he suffered, for example, a photo of scarring and hospital records and a medical report.
  • what the highway authority’s maintenance and inspection policy and records show for the particular stretch of road where his accident took place. The highway authority has to disclose its road maintenance records even if they show that they failed to repair the pothole that caused Shafiq’s injury.

Shafiq should keep his damaged bike to give the other side the opportunity to inspect it, although he should take photos of it as these may be enough to satisfy the defendant and the court. He should also get estimates for the cost of repair. If it’s a write-off, he will need to get a valuation. And similarly keep damaged clothes, and photograph them.

If he wants to claim for lost earnings, or the cost of transport while he’s unable to cycle, he needs to produce payslips/accounts and keep records of transport costs.


What does it mean?

Admissible - evidence that is allowed to be used in court.

Balance of probabilities - this means that your account and the evidence in support of it is more likely than not to be accurate.

Burden of proof – the obligation on the claimant to prove their claim.

Civil claim – a non-criminal legal case against an individual or a company for compensation and/or to assert a particular legal right.

Claimant – person or organisation who starts the case.

Compensation – usually money that has to be paid to other side to make up for loss, injury, damage or expense.

Defendant - person or organisation the case is brought against.

Directions -  instructions for how a case will be dealt with.

Documentary evidence - written information, which can be paper or digital.

Evidence - information or materials used to prove a party’s case. Liability – Legal responsibility. As a claimant you need to prove that the defendant is liable to you, because the loss you have suffered is their responsibility (for instance before they breached your legal rights or breached a contract with you).

Quantum – the amount of compensation you are legally entitled to claim from the defendant.

Pre-action protocols - the procedures the court expects you to follow before you start your claim. It gives details about how to behave and what to do. There are specific pre-action protocols for many types of case.

Pre-action protocol stage – the stage before the formal claim is started.

Real evidence – physical evidence also known as ‘tangible evidence’. An object used by one side or the other to try to prove or disprove a fact.

Small claim – these are usually simple claims, up to the value of £10,000.

Standard of proof – the level of proof the court requires you to prove to support your case, or a bar you need to reach. The standard of proof in a civil claim is the ‘balance of probabilities’ (see above).

Trial - the final hearing where a judge hears the evidence and makes a decision. But this only happens if both sides cannot reach an agreement on how to sort out their dispute themselves.

Witness statement – a written document containing evidence supporting the claimant’s or the defendant’s case, given by someone with first-hand knowledge of some or all of the facts.

About this guide


The information in this guide applies to England and Wales only. The law may be different if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. The law is complicated. We have simplified things in this guide. Please do not rely on this guide as a complete statement of the law. We recommend you try and get advice from the sources we have suggested.

The cases we refer to are not always real but show a typical situation. We have included them to help you think about how to deal with your own situation.


This guide was produced by Law for Life's Advicenow project with additional material from Laura Bee. We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback on the guide and especially editorial teams at Thomson Reuters who kindly peer reviewed this updated version.

Thanks to the Bar Standards Board for funding the creation of this guide. This version of the guide was updated thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice.

Updated March 2024
4 Reviews

Excellent explanation

I am just in the process in preparing a small claim against a company in court. This article is of great help for clarify things. I just have one question not sure of. Do I have to provide independent expert report to the defendant in advance by law way before the court hearing? Afterall a company have more resources to explore the law in their favourite. M Max
Mas Max on the 08 / 06 / 2024

Small claims

Brilliant,I now feel I can proceed with my claim with ,confidence and full preparation.thank you so much for this easy to understand help.
Debs on the 29 / 07 / 2023

Impressed with the detail

I am just starting a small claims case and this information has been very useful, the step by step instructions and the details given. A great help, thank you :-)
S Jones on the 20 / 01 / 2023

Really very good

This guide is really very good. The section on identifying what evidence you will need to prove your case is particularly helpful. Definitely the best thing I've ever seen for people who don't have a solicitor.
on the 31 / 01 / 2022

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