AFTER A COURT CLAIM: UK legal processes call a person or a business that owes money a ‘defendant’.
All defendants must respond to court claims for money within 14 days of receiving the notice.
The next step depends on whether the defendant makes a payment or fails to make any response.
If the Defendant Pays
The claimant must inform the defendant that that received the money if the defendant pays up. You must also inform the court what date the payment got made or the date you received an acceptable offer.
There are two ways of informing the court:
If the Defendant does not Respond
The claimant can ask a court to order the defendant to pay if they fail to make a response. The process of asking the courts to ‘request a judgment‘ means you will need to use:
If the Claimant Disagrees with the Response
What happens if you disagree with the response from the person or the business that owes the money?
As a rule, these situations will need to go to a court hearing if:
- The defendant denies owing any money to the claimant.
- The defendant disagrees with the amount claimed by the claimant.
- The claimant does not agree with the repayment plan offered.
You may get a questionnaire from the court asking for more information about the case.
You might also get asked to use the small claims mediation service at the court. The aim would be to reach a swift and inexpensive agreement with the defendant. But, this only occurs on claims made for less than £10,000.
The claimant must fill in the questionnaire from the court and then return it to them without delay. There is an extra court fee for setting up a hearing.
Note: Claimants should make efforts to agree settlements with defendants out of court. Failing to make an effort means the judge may not awards further costs to your case.
What Happens if there is a Hearing?
You will have several options if a court hearing goes ahead. The law allows you to represent yourself or pay for a barrister (solicitor) to represent you. You can also:
- Get advice from someone at the court (does not need to be a lawyer).
- Ask another person to speak on your behalf. In some cases, you will need permission by the court to do this.
Claims less than £10,000 can get heard in the judge’s room or in a courtroom of a county court. As a rule, there will be a formal hearing for claims over this amount.
Decision after the Hearing
In most cases, the court issues a decision on the same day as the hearing. They will also send a copy of the decision to the claimant by postal methods.
What happens if you win your case hearing at the small claims court? Winning the case means the court then orders the person or the business (the debtor) to make a payment to you. If the debtor ignore the court order there are other ways the court can collect the payment from them.
Appeal a Hearing Decision
If you believe the judge made an error during your hearing you can appeal the decision. The appeal must take place within 21 days of getting the decision. Your local Citizens Advice office can offer further information on appealing a decision.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Court Claims: Find out how to take someone to small claims court in the United Kingdom.
Court Fees: Check how much you need to pay to the court when making a claim for money.
Calculating Interest: How to calculate the interest added to money owed by the defendant.
Enforcing a Judgment: How to ask the court to collect payment from a defendant or a business.
How to Use Money Claim Online: MCOL is a secure Internet based service for claimants and defendants.