Abstract Large solar flares with intense soft X-ray emission (i.e., high GOES class) generally tend to show a strong hard X-ray emission. However, there are examples of low GOES class events with unusually strong hard X-ray emission. In this paper, we analyse the morphology and physical parameters of such small GOES intensity flares with strong hard X-ray emission, using Yohkoh SXT images and photometric data obtained from INTERBALL-TAIL RF15-I X-ray Photometer. We observe a great variety in the soft X-ray morphology of such flares (a large diversity of loop configurations). Some of these flares do not differ greatly in their morphology from large intense flares, but most flares are generally compact. In spite of their low intensities in soft X-rays, the significant hard X-ray emission is observed by INTERBALL up to 30–60 keV. We briefly discuss some of the possible causes of the soft and hard X-ray emission ratio of these events.