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How do I start?

Having considered the previous section you will be able to make your decision about whether or not to issue a petty debt claim. Below are some other points you may want to consider before you begin.

Where can I get a Petty Debts Claim Form?

You can get a Petty Debts from the Royal Court website. This form is also available in hard copy from Royal Court public counter. A copy of this form can be seen at Annex D.

You should fill in the Petty Debts Claim Form, making sure the Defendant's full name(s) and details are as accurate as possible; however please do not include addresses of employment. HM Sheriff can only serve the summons if you give accurate information on the whereabouts of the Defendant.

Your completed Petty Debts Claims Form can be submitted in multiple ways.

1)    Brought to the Royal Court public counter together with the appropriate fee;
2)    Posted to Client Services together with a cheque for the appropriate fee, otherwise payment can be arranged via telephone;
3)    E-mailed to the Client Services team. Payment will then be arranged via telephone.

A receipt will be issued stating what date the claim will be heard in the Magistrate's Court. If the Plaintiff has submitted the form at the Royal Court Public Counter, this will be provided at this time; if post or e-mail has been used, the receipt will be issued by either post or e-mail. You are required to bring with you one copy of your Petty Debts Claim Form on the day of the hearing along with any supporting documentation. 

If the claim is contested, the Plaintiff must, at least 7 days before the hearing date, submit any supporting documentation (final state, invoice, letter, etc.) to the Royal Court public counter or post these to Client Services (contact details found on the "Contact details" link) to arrive at least 7 days before the hearing date.

The Plaintiff is also required to post a copy of the documentation to the Defendant to arrive at least 7 days before the hearing date.

If you do not have supporting invoices, statements or other documentation you must ensure that the facts supporting your claim are fully outlined on the Petty Debts Claim Form.

A list of the current fees is published on the Royal Court Website and available at the Royal Court public counter. You should make cheques payable to the 'States of Guernsey'. You can also pay the fee by most debit or credit cards at the Royal Court public counter. Please note that credit card charges may apply.

Type of proof to support your claim

You may have documents which support your claim and which you intend to use to prove your case, you will not need these unless the Defendant intends to contest your claim, in which case a hearing will occur sometime in the future when the documents and, if required, witnesses may be called to support your claim. More information is available regarding disputed hearings at What happens in the Court?.

Remember the petty debts limit is £10,000. You cannot divide a greater sum owed into smaller segments in order to pursue the debt in the Magistrate's Court. For claims that exceed £10,000 the applicant must issue proceedings in the Royal Court and it is advisable in such circumstances to seek the assistance of an advocate. However it is possible for the applicant to pursue a claim without the assistance of an advocate and if you have any queries you may wish to speak with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Completing the Petty Debts Claim Form

It is important to give all the necessary information. This will assist in processing your claim and it will make it easier to enforce any judgment if one is granted.

When completing the Petty Debt Claim Form you will notice there are five main areas.

Plaintiff (Applicant)
This section is for your personal details. Here you should enter your full name, address including your postcode, telephone number, and your e-mail address.

It is important to make sure that the correct person is making the claim, for example, the person to whom the debt is owed, the person who bought the faulty goods, or the person who ordered the work to be carried out, should be the one to make the claim. Likewise the person whose property has been damaged or who leased the premises should be the one making the claim.

Defendant (Respondent/Debtor)
This section is for the details of the person or company against whom you are making the claim. It is important that you ensure that the information you give in this section is accurate. You should check that the full name and address you have for the respondent is correct before you make the claim.

If the respondent is an individual you should enter his or her forenames and surname and home address. It is only in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of HM Sergeant that a respondent's place of work address may be used if the respondent's place of residence is not known.

If the respondent is a limited company you should enter the full name of the company, and the full registered address of the company. Addresses of registered companies can be obtained from the Guernsey Registry.

When claiming against a respondent who trades in a name other than his or her own you should enter the name of the respondent followed by the words 'trading as ' i.e. Mr J Bloggs, Trading as ABC Builders, etc.

Details of Claim
Insert the total amount due in pounds sterling. This must not exceed £10,000.

Extra Information
In this section you should set out the facts of the case clearly and simply. For example:
•    When did the claim arise?
•    What goods/services were provided?
•    When did you buy the goods/services/have your property damaged?
•    What went wrong? If you need more space than that given on the form you should continue on a separate page.

Interest and costs
It is only usual for the judge to allow a claim for the Plaintiff's costs and not interest. However in certain circumstances it may be possible to request interest on the original sum.

Once you have completed your application form you must print and sign your name and enter the date at the appropriate place. If you are submitting the Petty Debts Claim Form electronically, the signature field does not need to be completed.

You should be aware that anyone signing this request must believe that the facts stated in the form are true.