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Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
Default judgment - overviewWhen default judgment will be ordered
A default judgment is a judgment made where there is no trial because a defendant has either failed to file an acknowledgment of service or has failed to file a defence or a claimant has failed to serve a defence to counterclaim.
In certain circumstances the court will not order a default judgment, for example, Part 8 claims, arbitration proceedings and possession claims. The Civil Procedure Rules specify that certain conditions must be fulfilled before a party can apply for judgment in default. The rules also set out when the court's permission is required for a judgment in default.
For more detail see When default judgment will be ordered.
Procedure for default judgment
A default judgment may be obtained either by application on notice (court's permission is required) or by request (court permission not required). The Civil Procedure Rules set out the criteria to determine which route should be followed. The evidence which has to be produced to the court is the same; in certain circumstances additional evidence must also be adduced. To grant a judgment in default, a court has to be satisfied as to a number of issues which include that the particulars of claim have been served.
Where a default judgment is made pursuant to an application then normally only fixed costs are recovered.
For more detail see Procedure for default judgment.
Setting aside judgment in default
If a default judgment has been obtained by the claimant the defendant can apply to have that set aside. In certain circumstances the court must set aside the default judgment eg where the court is satisfied that the defendant was not served with the claim form whereas in other circumstances it has a discretion whether to do so eg where the defendant has a real prospect of defending the claim. The documents required to make the application and the procedure to follow are set out in the CPR. If the court sets aisde the default judgment it may impose conditions when doing so eg a payment into court.
When making an application it is important to be aware that you will need to ensure you comply with two requirements (1) that you make the application promptly and (2) that you have a reasonable prospect of success. It is also possible to ensure a successful application if you are able to show some other good reason for the court to set aside the default judgment.
For more detail see:
Setting aside default judgment - when and how
Setting aside default judgment - requirements
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