Small Claims Court Forms
There are some small claims court forms that will need to be completed. The Court will send you a Notice of Issue setting out when the Defendant(s) is deemed to have received the papers. They have 14 days to respond, either with a defence or an Acknowledgement. If an Acknowledgment is filed within the 14 day period then they have up to 28 days from service to file a full Defence.
The Defendant(s) may just file a Defence or they may also issue a claim against you as well (known as a Counterclaim). If they do issue a Counterclaim you have to file a Defence to this in the same timescales as they had to file their Defence, otherwise they will be able to apply for judgment on that claim. If the Counterclaim is for more than £5,000 or includes a claim for personal injury in excess of £1,000 then the case will not be allocated to the small claims track and you need to speak to a solicitor urgently.
Assuming a Defence is filed the court will send out allocation questionnaires. The allocation questionnaire for small claims is relatively simple to complete. A deadline will be given for these to be completed and returned, along with any further fees that will be paid.
If you fail to comply with the deadline the Court will issue an Unless Order, giving you 7 days to file the paperwork or pay the fee otherwise your case will be struck out. it can take 2 to 3 days to receive this. It will take 2 days for a posted form to reach them. If you then account for the weekend you are at risk of not being able to comply with this before the deadline, so make sure you respond within the deadline in the first place.
You are entitled to apply for Default Judgment against any Defendant who fails to comply with the above timescales. The form is usually the bottom half of the Notice of Issue that you are sent. However, the Court may have received the paperwork and just not processed it yet. Also, if the paperwork is received from the Defendant in the post before your application for judgment they will not enter judgment.
Default judgment is a special type of judgment. Normally damages are payable within 14 days on all judgment unless stated otherwise. A default judgment is payable immediately. This means that potentially you could be starting to enforce before the other side even know you have the judgment.
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