Served with a Statement of Claim – what to do next?

A Statement of Claim is an application to the Court by the Plaintiff for another party (the Defendant) to pay them a sum of money that they believe to be owed. This may include circumstances where the Defendant hasn’t paid an invoice that has been issued to them, they’ve breached a contract or money was lent by the Plaintiff and hasn’t been paid back to them.

If you have been served with a Statement of Claim and you are listed as the Defendant, you have 28 days from the date that you were served to file a Defence with the Court or to arrange payment to the Plaintiff.

You would file a Defence when you don’t agree that you owe money to the Plaintiff and you would provide the Court with the reasons why you this money isn’t owing to them. This may include where you never received the invoice, you did not receive the goods or services that the invoice stated or there was another agreement that you had with the Plaintiff.

If you are uncertain about the amount stated or would like further information from the Plaintiff, such as a copy of a document mentioned in the Statement of Claim it is important that this is requested during the 28-day period to prevent Default Judgement.

If you do not file a Defence or request further particulars from the Plaintiff, then the Plaintiff is able to file for Default Judgement, meaning that the Court will determine that you owe the money stated in the Statement of Claim, including interest, legal fees and filing costs without further notice to you and even if you do not agree that you owe money to the Plaintiff.

Once Default Judgement occurs, your credit rating may be affected and the Plaintiff will be able to pursue enforcement proceedings to recover the funds that they owe, including garnishing any funds from your bank accounts or causing you to sell personal property or real estate. Additional interest will accrue after this time also, so it is important that you do not let Default Judgement occur.

If you have been served with a Statement of Claim and you need advice about your prospects of success in defending the claim or help drafting the Defence, please don’t hesitate in reaching out to our team.

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