Explain the courts that might hear a negligence claim and its appeal

In the UK, a negligence claim can be heard in various courts, depending on the nature and value of the claim. Here is an overview of the courts that may have jurisdiction over a negligence claim, including the appeal courts.

Small Claims Track
Under the small claims procedure, negligence claims with a value up to £10,000 (£1,000 for personal injury claims) are allocated to the Small Claims Track. This track is designed for simpler and lower-value claims. The small claims procedure is more informal, and parties may represent themselves without the need for legal representation. The hearing is typically conducted by a district judge within the County Court, and the procedure is less formal than in other tracks.

An appeal from a decision made in the Small Claims Track within the County Court can be made to a single circuit judge. The circuit judge will review the decision and may affirm, reverse, or modify it based on the merits of the case.

Fast Track
Negligence claims valued between £10,000 and £25,000 are allocated to the Fast Track. This track is used for moderately valued claims that require a more structured and formal approach than the small claims procedure. Fast-track cases are typically heard in the County Court. The court aims to ensure that these cases are heard and resolved efficiently within a specified timeline. The judge manages the case closely and sets strict deadlines for disclosure, witness statements, and other procedural steps to ensure a speedy resolution.

If a decision is made in the Fast Track within the County Court, an appeal can be lodged with a single High Court judge. The High Court judge will consider the grounds of appeal and assess whether the decision should be upheld or varied.

Negligence claims with a value exceeding £25,000 fall into the Multi-Track category. Multi-track cases involve higher-value or more complex claims. If the value is below £50,000, the case will generally be tried in the County Court. However, if the claim exceeds £50,000, the case will typically be heard in the High Court, specifically the King's Bench Division. The Multi-Track allows for a more extensive and detailed examination of evidence, expert testimonies, and legal arguments. The court provides flexibility in case management to ensure that the proceedings are conducted fairly and efficiently.

In the case of a decision made in the Multi-Track within the County Court, an appeal can be pursued with leave (permission) from the court. The appeal will be heard by two Lords Justices of Appeal in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Leave to appeal is required because the Court of Appeal generally does not hear appeals as of right from the County Court.

For decisions made in the Multi-Track within the High Court, an appeal can be pursued with leave from the court. The appeal will be heard in the Court of Appeal, where it will be considered by three Lords Justices. Similar to the County Court, leave to appeal is required to ensure that the Court of Appeal only reviews cases with sufficient legal merit.

Depending on factors such as the value of the claim, the complexity of the legal issues involved, negligence claims can also be heard in specialised courts or tribunals depending on the specific nature of the claim. For example, claims related to medical negligence may be heard in the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service or the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice Panel.
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