I know that might sound strange but in litigation terms it’s not just whether you win but how much.

If your claim is for £50,000 but you only win £5,000, you may feel you’ve lost £45,000 and I won’t argue with your maths.

But it could be worse than that.

If the court decides that you unreasonably exaggerated your claim and it was never worth more than £10,000, they could decide that it should have gone to small claims. If so, then regardless of the fact that you have “won”, the court could make no order as to costs. So you could have paid legal fees and a much higher court fee than you needed to, all of which could swallow up your award.

So if you are tempted to exaggerate your claim in the hope that you will get more in the long run, or to keep it out of small claims in the hope of getting a costs order in your favour, don’t forget that it can backfire on you and end up costing you more.

But it could be even worse than that.

If the other side offered to pay you £10,000 and you rejected it, you might think you have only lost £5,000 but actually you’ve lost a lot more than that. That’s not my poor maths. That’s because the court is likely to find that you should have accepted the offer and that because you didn’t, you now have to pay the other sides costs from the date you should have accepted their offer. Thus combined with your own costs probably means you are out of pocket.

So if the other side do make an offer, give it due consideration and don’t just dismiss it out of hand. If you’re wrong, the consequences could be a bigger number than I can count to!

Kleyman and Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Good value for money and more reliable than my ability to add up!