Judgment in default gives judgment in favour of the claimant without the need for a trial. It is intended to save time, resources and costs. Default judgment can be requested when the defendant does not respond to the claim or, more rarely, when the defendant files are acknowledgment of service but neglects to file a defence.
A large number of civil claims are simple debt recovery claims where there is often no dispute to the fact that goods or services were purchased and not paid for. The majority of money claims end in default judgment due to non response to the claim. Once the time for responding to the claim has elapsed, the claimant can request default judgment.
Summary judgment can be applied for by either party or used by the court of its own initiative to save time and resources where cases are considered hopeless. When a party applies for summary judgment, the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that the other side’s case has no prospect of success.
Applications for summary judgment are decided on whether the respondent’s case has any real prospect of success. The court can decide to strike out either the particulars of claim or the defence wholly or in part. See strike out.
Summary judgment is usually granted when the particulars of claim show no clear cause for bringing a claim (such as “The defendant owes me £500”) or the defence consists of bare denials (such as “I don’t owe the money”).
Summary judgment can only be applied for after the defendant has filed an acknowledgment of service or a defence. The most appropriate time is between acknowledgment of service and filing directions questionnaires to avoid further costs being incurred. If either party states their intention to apply for summary judgment when filing their directions questionnaire, the court will usually hold an allocation hearing during which the summary judgment application may also be heard.
Positive or negative?
Application by claimant
- Judgment in their favour which is enforceable in the same way as a default judgment or judgment obtained at trial.
- Application dismissed – the case continues to trial so it’s not the end of the claimant’s case.
Application by defendant
- Claim struck out and dismissed – the case does not proceed any further.
- Application dismissed – the case proceeds to trial.
Opposing a summary judgment application
If the claimant applies for summary judgment, a defendant can respond with a witness statement mentioning:
If the defendant has a defence only against part of the claim, the court may grant judgment for the part for which there is no defence.
Conditional orders and judgments subject to a stay are made when there are other issues to be determined, which would affect the claim, for example a counterclaim.
This is the most traditional form of judgment and the one that always comes to mind, however, it is also the least common. As previously noted, the majority of money claims end in default judgment. A few claims are defended merely with the intention of buying time without there being a real prospect of defence and can be decided by summary judgment.
A money judgment must be complied with within 14 days of the order. The court make make a different order, such as to pay by installments. The order should have the following:WarningUnless it’s paid in full within one month, the judgment will be recorded on the Registry Trust, where it will stay for six years. Unlike your credit files, the registry is public and searchable by anyone upon payment of a small fee.