Default Judgments – How to Apply for Default Judgments.

What are Default Judgments?

“Default Judgments means that a judgment (decision) is made against a Defendant without a trail. This situation arises where proceedings have been served upon the defendant and he fails to take the appropriate action required by law, this includes failure to return the acknowledgment of service and/or file a defence within the time stipulated”.

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What is Included?

  1. What are default Judgments?
  2. Time to respond to a money Claim?
  3. Criteria for the Default Judgments
  4. Claims for Specified Amount
  5. Claims for Unspecified Amount
  6. Interest on Default Judgments
  7. Co-defendants
  8. How to Apply for default Judgments
  9. Forms for default judgments
  10. Court Fee for default Judgments
  11. Enforcement of the Default Judgment

Time to Respond to a Money Claim

 Under Civil Litigation and Rules of CPR Claimant can apply for a default judgment where the Defendant fails to file an acknowledgement of service within 14 days from the date of service.

In the circumstances where a defendant fails to take the required action as stated above a Claimant can request the court for judgment in default. It is important for the Defendant that he must respond promptly and in a prescribed manner whenever he receives the notice of the proceeding.

Default judgements are dealt with in part 12 of the Civil Procedure Rules. It is important to note that the default judgment is not available in the following circumstances, and a Claimant cannot request for default judgment, this includes

 (a) a claim for delivery of goods under an agreement regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974;

(b) a claim under Part 8 of CPR;

 (c) a mortgage claim;

 (d) a claim for provisional damages;

(e) a claim in a specialist court.

Criteria for the Default Judgment

The Claimant, in order to, obtain default judgment must prove to the Court that;

(1) The particulars of claim have been served on the Defendant;

(2) The Defendant has not acknowledged service/filed a defence and the relevant time has now expired;

 (3) The Defendant has not satisfied the claim;

 (4) The Defendant has not admitted liability for the full amount of the claim.

It is important to note that in the instances where the claim is for the unspecified amount and the amount  of the claim is to be decided by the Court, the proceedings will be sent to the Claimant’s preferred hearing centre for a hearing to decide the amount  (quantum).

Default Judgments
Default Judgments

Claims for Specified Amount

In cases where the claim is for a specific amount of money, the request for the default judgment by the Claimant can include the date for full payment or the times and rate at which it is to be paid in installments by the Defendant. If the Claimant fails to do so, the court will normally give judgment for immediate payment.

Claims for Unspecified Amount

In case of a claim for an unspecified amount, the request for the default judgment is also a request to the court to decide the amount(quantum) of the claim and associated legal costs. In this instance, a full hearing will be conducted by the trial judge.

Interest on Default Judgments

The Claimant is entitled to ask for the interest which can be up to 8% payable on the judgment debt, in the alternative the court has the authority of award interest on a rate (0-8%)  which it considers appropriate.

Co-defendants

Where there are more than one Defendants to a proceeding, the Claimant can enter a default judgment against one or more of the co-defendants while proceeding with his claim against the other Defendants, provided that the claim can be dealt with separately. Otherwise, the court will not award or deal with the default judgment until it has dealt with the claim against the other Defendants.

How to Apply for default judgment

A Claimant after the expiry of the time required by the defendant to respond can apply for the judgment in default. For a money and goods claim, whether specified or unspecified value, the applicant used the following forms  

Forms for default judgement

Forms N205A for notice of Issue for a specified Amount.

Form   N225  for judgment on a claim for a specified amount of money and to set out repayments a defendant should make to the claimant, where the Defendant has admitted the claim.

 Form N227 for judgment on a claim for an unspecified amount of money, the defendant has not replied and where the amount will be decided by the Court.

Court Fee in default Judgments

Court Fee is set at £255 as of writing of this blog.

Enforcement of the Default Judgment

Once a default judgment has been obtained by the Claimant, he can take enforcement action against the defendant to recover the judgment sum(total amount of money including interest) by instructing bailiffs, applying for an attachment of earnings order or obtaining a charging order over the defendant’s home.

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