A unique new service launched today by QualitySolicitors promises to take the headache out of resolving small claims disputes. Built around an innovative partnership with a mediation company, the fixed-fee process will help consumers achieve a fair solution when they face a dispute concerning up to 10,000.
By integrating mediation into the process and offering fixed-fee advice, the new QualitySolicitors service offers a clear and affordable option for consumers and small businesses, that need to make a claim. Using mediation to deal with a dispute can also make it much less stressful.
The Justice Minister has only last week urged for mediation to be used more widely in the Small Claims Process.
“With mediation there’s no downside” said Simon Hughes. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain - and you may not get what you want by going through the courts where a judge will dictate the terms”.
Launching the new service, John Baden-Daintree, Director of legal services at QualitySolicitors said:
“The small claims process is one that people find stressful and upsetting. It is a legal process where they could do with some help. The sums of money involved are often very significant for those facing the dispute.
"Most law firms do not offer a cost-effective service to help with small claim disputes but QualitySolicitors is different. Our new small claims service is easy to follow with fixed fees so claimants know exactly what to expect. It will help consumers get a fair outcome as quickly as possible and only using QualitySolicitors for the bits where they need support.
"The focus of the service is to try to help people resolve their dispute without using the small claims court at all. Instead the focus is on advice to identify clearly what is really in dispute and what a fair outcome would be and then using negotiation and mediation to see if this can be achieved. This combined approach of legal advice and meditation aims to take the heat out of the dispute – to lead to a swift end to the claim.”
The service offers free initial advice by telephone to see if it is a dispute the law can help with. Then consumers can choose to pay for a 30 or 45 minutes fixed-price meeting with an approachable lawyer (depending on the type and value of their claim). This can be followed up with a special fixed-price telephone mediation service with Small Claims Mediation (UK) Ltd. For most people this will avoid the cost, worry and time of taking their case to a small claims court.
Dave Bartram, the lead singer of 80s band Showaddywaddy, who has had small claims issues in the past, says: "The legal system may refer to these as ‘small claims’, but the money involved is a lot for most people and disputes can still be stressful and upsetting. Despite this, consumers are expected to deal with most of these claims on their own and cannot get their legal fees back, even if they win, making the prospect of going to court overwhelming for many. Consumers and small businesses often can't afford high legal fees - this kind of tool to help the injured parties recoup their losses is just what is needed."
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Notes to editors
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Case studies are available for interview
The sorts of issues that can be settled using this new claims service are:
- Debt – someone owes you money (whether a friend or a customer of your business).
- Someone has damaged something that belongs to you.
- A service was carried out badly - poor workmanship.
- Faulty shop purchase – you want the shop to replace the item that’s not working properly.
- Internet purchase doesn’t match its online description.
- Holiday went badly wrong due to problems with the hotel and facilities.
- Your car still isn’t running properly despite expensive garage work.
- A neighbour is too noisy or is stopping you from enjoying your home.
- Your landlord owes you your deposit or hasn’t made repairs.