What Happens If the Defendant Admits all or Part of the Claim?
If the defendant admits the claim, they complete the Admission Form in the response pack that they have received. There is a box on the front of the form that allows a defendant to admit all or part of the claim.
For example, if the claim is for £500, but the defendant admits £300, they would put £300 in the relevant box on the Admission Form. The rest of the document should then be completed, providing as much information as possible about his or her financial circumstances, such as employment details, bank account details, any savings, and whether or not they own their home.
The defendant then sends the form back to the court. Once this has occurred, the claimant can then ask the court to enter judgment for the amount that the defendant has admitted.
Payments by InstalmentsThe defendant may be proposing to pay the debt by instalments. This should be done on form N9A in the response pack and should be sent directly to the claimant. The claimant then needs to decide whether or not the proposed offer is acceptable. If it is, the claimant then asks the court to enter judgment. The court then draws the judgment order, stipulating that the amount will be paid as per the defendant’s proposal, or at a later date, whichever is applicable.
Acceptable ProposalsIf a defendant puts forward a proposal for payment, the claimant has to decide whether or not the offer is acceptable. The claimant assesses the information that the defendant has provided on the admission form, including their income and expenditure. The claimant has to check the defendant’s financial status carefully, considering the declared outgoings with the declared income.
A defendant often includes their spouse or partner’s income too, but it is important that unless both husband and wife, or both partners are being sued, only the defendant’s income and expenditure should be taken into consideration. To decide whether or not the defendant’s offer is a reasonable one, the claimant should consider his or her own outgoings as a benchmark. If the financial details seem to be unusually high, the claimant can request that the defendant produces documentary proof to support their claim.
Unacceptable ProposalsIf the defendant’s proposal for payment is not acceptable, the claimant files a notice at court. The court then enters judgment for the amount that the debtor has admitted. The time to pay, and the rate at which it must be paid, is fixed by the court. The court’s decision does not require a hearing and in the small claims court is made by an officer of the court.
Re-determinationIf the defendant or the claimant disagrees with the decision of the officer of the court, either party can apply to the court for the matter to be ‘re-determined.’ This application must be made within 14 days of the applicable party receiving service of the determination.
If the defendant only admits part of the claim, they can either pay the amount that they admit, or ask for time to pay the amount that is admitted, or lodge a counterclaim.