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Debt Recovery Series No. 4 – Issuing a Claim

3 April 2018

Debt Recovery Series 4

This is the continuation of the debt recovery mini-series. Please see previous article here.

If after sending a letter before action, the debt is still not paid, you may want to think about starting court proceedings. This is also called ‘ issuing a claim ’.

Issuing a claim

This involves sending a pack of specific documents to the court along with a court fee. This pack will include:

  • The Claim Form (which is a standard document detailing parties involved and an overview of the claim) and,
  • the Particulars of Claim (a more detailed explanation of the claim, often annexing copy documents such as contracts, purchase orders and invoices). This may form part of the Claim Form document in smaller cases or can stand alone as a separate document.

Upon receiving this pack, the court will ‘issue’ the documents.  The Court will provide a Notice of Issue confirming the date when the proceedings were commenced.

Serving the claim

You should decide whether you wish to serve the claim on the debtor yourself or whether you would like the court to do so. The Court will do this for you unless you expressly ask them not to. You may want to do it if, for example, you know the Defendant will be awkward about whether he receives the papers or you may want to tactically serve in a few weeks rather than straight away.

A response pack is provided to the debtor at the time of serving the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim. This sets out a number of ways the debtor can deal with your claim.

If the court serves the claim, they will include within the Notice of Issue the date the debtor was served. The Notice of Issue will also state the deadline date the debtor should have responded by.

If you have done it yourself (or your solicitor has done it on your behalf), a Certificate of Service must be filed at court to confirm service. You will then need to work out the Defendant’s time to respond.

Debtor’s response

The debtor has 14 days to respond to your Claim. They can

  • File an acknowledgement of service – this provides them with a total of 28 days to file their response.
  • File an admission – basically admitting they owe the debt. The debtor can put forward repayment proposals at this stage and it is up to you whether to accept the offer or not. You ask the court to enter Judgment in the manner you wish, and if different to what the Defendant is proposing, the Court may make an order as it sees fit noting the Defendant’s admission and ability to make payment.
  • Defend the claim – setting out the reasons why they disagree they owe the amount specified. If they wish to do so, they can serve a counterclaim (e.g. stating that you owe them some money or have breached a duty) at the same time.

If they do not respond at all, you can apply to the Court for a Default Judgment.

We will consider each of these possible responses in turn in the next article in the series.

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