If you lose a small claims case, you will have to pay your own legal costs. If you are going via the small claims track, it is unlikely the Judge will make you pay the other side’s legal fees unless you have failed to follow protocol. You may be ordered to pay the other side’s court fees or other expenses, and you will not get your own court fees back. You will have to pay any costs within 14 days of the hearing. If you are on a lower income, it is possible the Judge will arrange a payment plan to make it possible for you to pay the costs over a longer period.
The likelihood of being ordered to pay out if you lose is also dependent on whether the Judge considers that your small claim was either unreasonable or if you acted unreasonably during the process. Small Claims Portal can help you with these issues to make sure that any claim you bring is considered reasonable.