Responding to a claim
When you receive a claim, you have the following options:
If you acknowledge the claim and state your intention to defend it in full, you will have a total of 28 days from date of service to submit a defence. Even if you don’t think can defend, you can acknowledge to buy some time, to request information and documents from the claimant. You can still negotiate with the claimant and make an offer of repayment if you do not think you will be able to defend successfully.
To be able to respond online, you need to register on the MCOL (Money Claim Online) website.
If your claim hasn’t got a password or you are unable to log in using your claim number and password combination, try ringing the Northampton bulk centre helpdesk. If you have no luck, you can send a scan of the completed acknowledgment of service form sent as an e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with the claim number.
In the subject heading you should write: Claim No.: xxxxxx – Claimant’s Name -v- Your Name – Acknowledgment of Service. You will get a confirmation e-mail almost immediately.
You can also return the acknowledgment of service form by post, however, you should make sure to allow enough time for it to be received by the court to avoid default judgment.
The claim form comes with a response pack containing a number of standard forms:
- N1 – the claim itself;
- N009 – Acknowledgment of service and instructions;
- N9A – Admission form;
- N9B – Response and Defence/Counter Claim.
These forms offer information and guidance with regards to responding to the claim and offer an alternative if you are unable to respond online.
When the court receives the acknowledgment of service the claimant will be sent a form N10 which is a notice that acknowledgment of service has been filed. It will tell the claimant:
You can file a defence straight away without the need for the extra 14 days. This may be an option if:
If you admit the claim but are not able to pay in full, you may ask for extra time. Fill in the N9A admission form, providing details about your income and expenditure. You may want to contact the claimant to discuss a payment proposal. Send the N9A form to the address specified on the claim form and keep a copy for yourself. If the claimant accepts your offer to pay in instalments, you have to keep up your payments.
If you disagree with the amount claimed, complete both the N9A admission form and the N9B defence and counterclaim form. Specify how much you agree you owe and explain why. You can then offer to pay the amount that you agree to in full, or ask for extra time to pay what you admit. Send both forms to the court so that they receive them within 14 days of the date that you received the particulars of claim.
If you need more time, you can file an Acknowledgment of Service using form N009 or online on the MCOL website. The court will send copies of your completed forms to the claimant asking whether your part admission is accepted and the claim can be settled, or whether they want to carry on with their claim as a defended claim. The claimant must reply to the court within 14 days of receiving your part admission.
The parties can reach an agreement or ‘settlement’ at any point between serving the claim form on the defendant and the case going to court for a final hearing. You can make an offer to settle part, or all, of the claim at any time. This saves time and avoids the stress and expense of going to court. You could get a full refund of the hearing fee if you notify the court in writing, at least seven days before the trial date or start of the trial week, that the case is settled or discontinued. See Settlement and ADR.