How Long Do Small Claims Courts Take? - Cobra Financial Solutions Ltd

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If you do a little bit of research into small claims courts, you will probably read that claims can take anywhere between three and nine months. Though this might be the case for some people, it’s by no means a guarantee. In our experience, it’s not unheard of for a multitrack claim to take upwards of a year or two to be settled in a small claims court. This is largely due to the backlog courts are currently facing, which built up during the pandemic and has yet to shift.

Considering these delays and the lengthy process, it makes sense that you might be looking for an alternative to small claims court. Luckily, Cobra Financial Solutions can provide just that.


Why Does Small Claims Take So Long?

It’s impossible to give an exact figure with regards to how long small claims take, as the timeline varies based on a number of different factors. It’s very much a case of taking a claim to court and hoping for the best, with no real idea of how long the process will take. For example, the strength of your case and the evidence you have can hugely impact how quickly the case is resolved. The stronger the case, the quicker it’s likely to be resolved. If you are lacking evidence or the claim is an especially complex one, it’s likely that the process will take longer. Similarly, if the courts are busy, there is a risk that it will take them a long time to get to your claim, with earlier submitted claims taking priority.


However, if you are lucky enough to put your claim through when the courts are relatively quiet, it will be looked at a lot sooner. But, there’s no knowing how busy the courts are, or how busy they are about to become, when you submit. Of course, there are things that can speed up the length of time a small claim takes. The debtors’ admission of the amount owed can help to move things along, but there is no guarantee of this happening. A lot of people find that small claims court takes a lot longer than they first thought.


Common Delays to the Small Claims Court Process

There are a lot of reasons as to why the small claims court process could be delayed, such as:


  • Hidden Debtors – One common delay happens during the initial stages of the process, where difficulties can arise in telling the debtor that a claim is being made against them. If the debtor cannot be located or is in hiding, this can prolong the start of the claim.


  • Negotiation and Mediation – Before proceeding to court, you may want to negotiate a settlement or participate in mediation with the debtor, in the hope of resolving the dispute. While this can be beneficial in reaching an agreement without the need for small claims court, it can also lead to delays if negotiations go back and forth for too long.


  • Court Backlog – A lot of delays to the small claims court process happen due to court backlog or scheduling issues, particularly if the court is experiencing a high volume of cases or staffing shortages. This is something that started during the pandemic and courts have struggled to catch up. It can result in longer waiting times for hearings to be scheduled or for judgements to be issued.


  • Too Many Claims – With a lot of people opting to pursue a debt through small claims court, the courts are finding it difficult to stay on top of a growing caseload. This means that new claims are added to an already large pile of cases, and these can take a long time to get through. There’s no knowing how many claims are ahead of yours, or whether yours will take priority.


If you want to guarantee that you miss these delays, it’s best to look for an alternative to small claims court. For example, enlisting the help of a debt collection agency and handing everything over to debt collection experts.


What Are The Alternatives to Small Claims Court?

There are certainly a number of benefits that come with taking a debtor to small claims court. But, with the process taking far longer than many people initially realise, it’s a good idea to consider alternative solutions. After all, you don’t want to be waiting any longer than you have to for funds that are rightfully yours.


A lot of independent traders don’t have the time or resources to pursue a debt through the small claims court, especially if the outstanding debt is hindering cash flow and ongoing business. This is why we encourage people to bypass small claims courts and focus their attention on face-to-face debt collection.


A lot of people don’t realise that debt collection officers actually need much less to get started, compared to going to court. All we need is proof of the debt, and we can take the first steps towards finding your debtor and recovering payment. There’s no need to wait for the court process to start, and we don’t have a backlog of cases to worry about. Instead, we take the information that you have and hit the ground running, ensuring that your funds are recovered as quickly as possible.


Bypass the Lengthy Small Claims Court Process

Though taking a debtor to small claims court can be an effective way of claiming an outstanding payment, it can be time consuming and stressful for you to tackle alone. With no guarantee of success, it can be a risky route to take. This is why a lot of people enlist the help of a debt collection agency.


At Cobra Financial Solutions, we offer an alternative way of doing things. To find out more about any of our debt collection services, get in touch with our helpful team or give us a call on 0151 305 5992.


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