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    The fast track and the multi track

    Cases in the county courts are assigned to one of three tracks: the Multi Track, the Fast Track or the Small Claims Track.

    This guidance tells you about the sort of cases that are likely to be allocated to the fast track and the multi-track, and about how cases will be handled in those tracks.

    You may find it helpful to first read the guidance The defendant disputes all or part of my claim which explains how the allocation process begins.

    Remember that this guidance can only give you a general idea of what is likely to happen, and cannot explain everything about court rules, costs and procedures which may affect different types of claim in different ways.

    If the amount of your claim suggests that it may be allocated to the fast or multi-track, you should seek advice from a solicitor, Law Centre or an advice agency. Neither of the procedures for these tracks are straightforward and both will usually lead to a formal trial in open court which members of the public can attend.

    Even if you feel able to present your own case to a judge in court, you may find you need some professional help with the preparatory work needed before the trial. If you have not already done so, you should ask, when you seek advice, whether you are entitled to receive a solicitor’s help free or by paying a small contribution. Some solicitors may also handle your claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

    As a general rule, for either of these tracks, the winning party would normally expect to recover some of their costs, including their solicitor’s costs, from the losing party.

    When a claim is disputed (‘defended’) you will be sent a copy of the defendant’s defence and a Form N150 (allocation questionnaire). The information you provide in the questionnaire will help the judge decide which is the most appropriate track for your case. You, and the defendant, can express a view. But you must understand that, even though your view and that of the defendant will be taken into account, it is for the judge to decide.