Have you received a County Court Judgment? Can anything be done?
June 4, 2020
It may be that you, or your company, have received a County Court Judgment that has been entered in Default? Do you have a Defence to the Claim? The question is whether the Judgment can be set aside. In many cases it can but firstly you MUST act promptly.
Once proceedings have been issued, the general rule is that you have 14 days after service of the Particulars of Claim to file an Acknowledgement of Service form and if this is filed you have 28 days after the date of service to file your Defence.
If you have failed to file an Acknowledgement of Service or a Defence, the Claimant is entitled to enter Judgment against you in Default.
If Judgment in Default has been entered is there anything you can do?
The Court must set aside a Judgment entered in Default if the Judgment was wrongly entered. This may be because the time for filing your Acknowledgement of Service or Defence had not actually expired or you have already satisfied the whole of the claim before the Judgment was entered. It is therefore important to check whether the Claimant has complied with the Court rules before entering Judgment because, if not, Judgment may be irregular and may have to be set aside. Compliance with Court rules is mandatory.
Secondly, the Court has discretion to set aside Judgment entered in Default if the claim form was sent to an old address or you did receive the claim form. On top of this you will usually have to show the Court that you have some Defence to the claim or there is a good reason why it should be set aside and you should be given the opportunity to defend the claim.
The first thing to determine is whether the Claim form has been validly served and, has the Claimant complied with the court rules on service.
Even if the Claimant has complied with the Court rules, the Court still can exercise their discretion and may set aside or vary a Judgment entered by default if you have a ‘real prospect of successfully defending the claim’ or ‘there is some other good reason why Judgment should be set aside or varied or you should be allowed to defend the claim.
The Court, in exercising their discretion, must consider whether the application to set aside the Judgment aside has been made promptly and therefore, you should always act quickly if you are faced with a Judgment in Default.
If you or your company has had a County Court Judgment entered against you in default, our Dispute Resolution Team can help you weigh up your options. Contact Aaron Marshall on 01204 377 600 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org