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What Happens After a Legal Claim is Issued?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 25 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Claim Court Response Pack Claim Form

Once a claim has been issued the court will put together a “response pack” containing:

  • The claim form;
  • An acknowledgement of service form. If this is filled in and returned to the court the defendant will be allowed more time to prepare a defence;
  • An admission form. If the defendant admits the claim the claimant will be entitled to have judgment entered. The defendant can make proposals to pay the debt by monthly instalments. If the claim is for an unspecified amount the defendant can offer an amount in satisfaction of the claim; and,
  • A defence form. If the defendant disputes all or some of the claim he fills this in outlining the reasons why he denies liability.
The response pack is sent to the defendant by first class post. If the claim was originally issued online, the defendant may respond online.

Notice of Issue

Once the claim has been sent to the defendant the court sends the claimant a notice of issue. The notice of issue states the date of issue, the date the response pack was sent to the defendant and the date on which it is deemed to have been served. The defendant has 14 days from the date on which the response pack is deemed to have been served to respond to the claim. If he sends back the acknowledgement of service within this time he is entitled to a further 14 days to prepare his defence.

The notice of issue also contains a section which can subsequently be used by the claimant to request judgment.

Documents Returned Undelivered

If the response pack is returned as undelivered the court will send the claimant a notice advising them of this. However, it does not mean that it has not been “served”. In legal terms a document has been served on a party as long as it was sent to their correct last known address.

No Response to the Claim

If the defendant does not respond to the claim the claimant is entitled to “judgment in default”- that is a judgment in default of a response. The section on the notice of issue for requesting judgment should be completed and sent to the court.

Defendant Admits the Claim

If the defendant to a claim for a specified amount sends back the admission form, admitting the whole debt, the claimant is entitled to have judgment entered. Again the request for judgment on the notice of issue is completed. If the defendant has offered to pay the debt by instalments, the claimant states on the request form whether they accept the offer.

In a claim for an unspecified amount, if the defendant makes no offer to satisfy the claim or if the claimant rejects the offer made, judgment will be entered “for an amount to be decided by the court”. It is probable that there will be a hearing at which the court decides on a monetary value for the claim.

Defendant Offers to Pay Debt by Monthly Instalments

If the defendant makes an offer to pay the debt by monthly instalments it is up to the claimant whether or not they accept it. The admission form has a space for the defendant to enter information about his income and expenditure, which should be filled in. The claimant can:
  • accept the proposal;
  • reject the proposal and ask for higher monthly instalments; or,
  • reject the proposal and ask for the whole amount to be payable immediately.
The court will consider the defendant’s proposals and the claimant’s response, and decide what to do. In some cases there may be a “disposal hearing” at which both sides can make representations and the judge will decide whether the judgment should be payable immediately or by instalments. If the Judge decides the debt can be paid by instalments he will also set an amount for these.

Defendant Disputes All or Some of the Claim

There are three different “tracks” along which a defended claim may proceed – depending on the value and complexity of the claim. If the defendant disputes all or some of the claim it will have to be allocated to a track. In most cases the court will send both parties an Allocation Questionnaire. The information in the questionnaire helps the court decide how best to deal with the case. If the claim form, defence and allocation questionnaires do not make it obvious how the claim should be treated, the court may set a date for an allocation hearing where the parties can attend and discuss the question of allocation with the judge.

It is only at this stage that a claim might become a “small claim” if it satisfies the criteria for the small claims track.

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[Add a Comment]
My former tenant owes more than a £1,000. He promised he's going to pay back but hasn't done so. He's deliberately not responding to an email I sent him. I have his business address which seems to be a home address. Could I start a claim based on business/home address? Or previous known address?
Ella - 25-Sep-17 @ 11:59 AM
Hi, I have recently started a claim online following a dispute about payment. The main contractor who instructed for works to be completed states that their customer is liable for the payment and not her. I have received a notice of issue from the court but have head nothin else in around 5 weeks. What is the next step?
Sambo1 - 27-Jun-17 @ 8:01 PM
Not a very helpful site really is it, only one response and that says "we cannot help"? What is the difference between "Day I served" and "Date of Service" as on form N125? Then this is further confused here by adding in the language of "date of issue". Is "issue" the same as "served" ?
mark - 27-Apr-17 @ 8:11 AM
Hi, i have filled in the small claims court form et1 online, a few days ago and received response from the court as an approved claim with court dates etc. However i did not yet received the notice of issue to the respondent from the court yet. What should i do? Serve it myself? Kind regards.
Auris - 7-Nov-16 @ 3:00 PM
Hi I have issued a claim against a plasterer who did a very poor job to get my money back to pay for it to be fixed. The claim form has been returned as 'no longer at this address'. Having looked online I can see he has sold his house (as he is getting divorced) but it now means I can't trace him. I do have his email address and telephone number but he is now ignoring my texts (as he probably knows I can't find him.) What should I do now? Can I re-serve by email?
Confused - 29-Sep-16 @ 12:30 PM
sam - Your Question:
I have Cridt card debt in dubai I received court claim form in UK what I have to do

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot advise upon this, you would have to follow the instructions contained in the letter.
AboutSmallClaims - 28-Aug-15 @ 1:52 PM
i have Cridt card debt in dubai I received court claim form in UK what I have to do
sam - 27-Aug-15 @ 4:25 PM
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