In accordance with CPR 21.6, claims are allocated to one of three tracks, depending on a number of factors that are taken into account when the Court receives a defence. The amount claimed is usually the key determining factor.
The Court also considers the complexity of the case, which means a claim under £10,000 may be allocated to the fast track. CPR 26.8 sets out the allocation criteria.
In accordance with CPR 26.3, every defended claim gets provisionally allocated to the track that appears most suitable and the court will send each party a notice of proposed allocation and a directions questionnaire (this document was formerly known as “allocation questionnaire” (AQ)).
The directions questionnaire will specify a date for returning the questionnaires and any other documents specified by the court. A copy of the completed questionnaire (and any additional documents if applicable) should be sent to the claimant or their legal representatives. There is no option to vary this date by agreement between the parties. The dates specified will usually be at least 14 days after the date of service for small claims track and at least 28 days for fast track or multi-track.
There are two versions of the directions questionnaire:
The N180 questionnaires should be fairly straightforward to fill in. See the embedded file below with a few pointers.
CPR 26.6 sets out the scope of each track:
The court will impose a sanction to anyone who fails to comply, for example, by not returning the directions questionnaire by the date specified. The court will start by sending a further notice requiring compliance within seven days.