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UK victims

Interactive decision tree

Interactive decision tree

Please use our interactive tool to understand more about the criminal and civil justice systems and how the two systems can interact. It outlines the main steps, and has been specifically created with the individuals and smaller business victim in mind.

Please carefully read about the main differences between the criminal and civil justice systems before using the decision tree.

Civil proceedings


At the end of the trial, judgment costs generally ‘follow the event’, which means that if the claimant wins the case then the defendant pays the claimant’s costs. Equally, of course, if the defendant wins the case then generally the claimant will pay the defendant’s costs – this is true even if you are a litigant in person.

There are some controls. If you are claiming less than £10,000 then, generally, neither party will have to pay costs beyond general expenses and court fees. If you are claiming between £10,000 and £25,000 then, generally, the costs will be limited to no more than £1,650, plus general expenses and court fees. These are not hard and fast rules, however, and the courts can make exceptions, especially with fraud.

If the defendant refuses to pay the monies, then the civil justice system provides a variety of enforcement mechanisms for a victim of fraud. For instance, it may be possible to identify certain property capable of satisfying a debt, which a bailiff can then seize in order to auction. Alternatively, an order could be made compelling an employer to make regular deductions from the defendant’s future earnings, for example.