Claims: issue and service

The usual way to start civil proceedings is by issuing a claim form (N1). This form is prepared by the claimant or their solicitors and most money claims are issued in the Northampton County Court. In most cases, money claims are issued electronically.

A claim form should contain the following:

  • The name of the court where proceedings are started –  for money claims this will be The Northampton County Court

  • Names and addresses of the parties

  • Details of the claimant’s solicitors (if any)

  • A concise statement of the nature of the claim

  • A statement of the remedy sought

  • A statement of value

  • A statement of truth

  • Details of any fees and fixed costs being claimed.

Particulars of claim

Online claimThe particulars of claim refer to the statement setting out the claimant’s case and the remedy sought. The particulars can be on the claim form or as a separate document. For claims issued through MCOL, if contained within the claim form, the particulars cannot exceed 1,080 characters. If they are in a separate document, they can be served either with the claim or within 14 days of service of the claim.

The particulars of claim should contain a concise statement of facts on which the claimant relies and should be brief and to the point. Their purpose is to state the cause of action, not to give evidence about it. It is not necessary to give particulars of all attempts to obtain payment and all reminders sent.

For electronic claims, it is not necessary to attach a copy of the contract or agreement; documentary evidence may be required if the claim is defended but not not at the time of issuing the claim.

InterestInterest

The claim can include a claim for interest at the contractual rate, if one was specified in the contract to which the action refers. If there is no contractual rate, interest will be at the statutory rate set under the County Courts Act 1984 s.69. The current statutory rate is 8%, but this may be updated from time to time. Interest will be calculated up to the date the claim is issued and worked out from the date it fell due to the date of the claim and put down as a specific amount. Where default judgment is obtained, interest can be updated up to that date at the time of requesting judgment. There are online resources which help you to identify the way the amount is calculated, such as: http://www.veritas.co.uk/Content_Pages/Interest_calculator.aspx

Service

PostThe claim form is served by the court and is deemed to be served on the fifth day after issue even if that day is not a business day. A claim must be served within four months of issuing. CPR 6.1(1)  allows for various methods of service, however, in practice they are most commonly sent by first class post. Most claims are not sent by recorded delivery, however, any delivery method that offers next business day delivery is allowed. This includes special delivery, recorded delivery as well as the use of commercial delivery services that offer next business day service. Service by second class post is not in accordance with the rules.

An individual can be served at his usual or last known residence. Service will be valid as long as the address was once the defendant’s residence and it is the last address known to the claimant. If the claimant has reason to believe the last known address is no longer where the defendant resides, the claimant must take reasonable steps to find their current address.  If the defendant is found to be living abroad, the claimant will have to attempt service outside the jurisdiction.

A claimant is allowed to serve a claim to your last known address, even if you no longer reside there or have any way of picking up post from that address. If your creditors are not updated with your current address, they may send court papers to an old address. In many cases this may result in default judgment entered against you when the claim is not acknowledged.
Because the claim form is deemed to be served five days after the date of issue, you have five extra days allowed for service, from the date printed on the claim form, in addition to the 14 days to acknowledge or defend and a further 14 days to submit a defence if you acknowledge.

5.7 The claim form will be deemed to be served on the fifth day after the claim was issued irrespective of whether that day is a business day or not. ‘Business day’ has the same meaning as in rule 6.2(b).

Need help? Join the forum
If you have received a claim, you need to acknowledge it within 14 days to avoid default judgment.
See responding to a claim.