Applications to the court

There are times when you may want to ask the court for an order, for example to set aside a default judgment or to get your opponent to disclose documents. Applications are made with an application notice, in most cases using FormN244. The application should specify the order(s) being sought as well as the reasons for seeking the order(s).
Purpose of applications
Most applications have to be supported by evidence and have a draft of the order sought attached to it. Some applications can be dealt with without a hearing, others will require a hearing.

Applications can be made for various reasons, such as:

  • Having a default judgment set aside. See set aside.
  • Striking out a statement of case such as the particulars of claim or the defence.See strike out.
  • Obtaining summary judgment. See judgment.
  • An unless order which is a directions order to get the other side to do something (for example, complying with a request for documents or further information).
Unless orders

Here we will refer to applications for a directions order, used when the other side does not comply with a request for documents or further information, or is unable to comply with such a request in a timely manner. See requesting documents and requests for further information.

If you are defending a claim for less than the threshold for small claims (currently £10,000) and wish to make an application to enforce a request for documents under CPR 31.14 or a Part 18 request for further information, you need to make the application before you submit your defence. Once a defence is submitted, the case gets allocated to small claims and your application would be dismissed on the grounds that Parts 18 and 31 of the CPR do not apply in the small claims track.
A positive outcome cannot be guaranteed, therefore an application may be best suited for larger claims.
If you are defending a claim above the threshold for small claims (currently £10,000) you can make an application even after filing your defence, however, it’s preferable to do it before rather than filing a ‘holding’ defence. See defences.
It is advisable to compile as much evidence as possible of your attempts to get the other side to comply with your requests before submitting an application, as this should be your last resort. Make sure you have copies of all letters and emails sent and received as well as logs of any phone conversations.
Before opting for an application, make sure you ask the non-compliant claimant or their solicitors to agree to an extension to file your defence as allowed under CPR15.5. See defending a claim.

Applications are submitted using and N244 form. A fee is payable but in certain circumstances you may be able to apply for remission of the court fee, for example, if you are in receipt of benefits or on a low income. Form EX160a has full details. Guidance notes for completing the N244 application form can be found here: N244 guidance notes.

You should keep copies of any letters sent to the claimant (or solicitors acting for them) and proof of posting. Ideally  letters should be sent recorded delivery. This is important so you can have exhibits to attach to your witness statement supplementing your application. You will need to attach a witness statement to the application form, showing the letters and detailing the history of the claim, stating that you had an extension under 15.5 or that the claimant (or their solicitors) refused to agree to one, and that you need the court to allow you more time to file a defence and ask the court to order the claimant to provide the documents requested so that you can plead properly.

Example documents

Below is an example N244 application for an unless order. You will need to download and fill in your own N244 application form.

An example witness statement for an unless order application can be found below:

An example draft order is included below:

Example documents are provided for reference only. It is your responsibility to make sure you have included all the relevant information and you should double-check your facts, dates, numbers, etc. before sending them out. If in doubt, seek professional help.

If you need to vary the terms of an existing court order or apply to suspend a warrant, you need form N245.
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