Strike out, stay and discontinuance
A claimant may decide not to pursue the claim, for example because their chances of success and/or recovery of cots are not very high. A claimant may discontinue a claim at any time during the process.
The claimant has to file a notice of discontinuance with the court and send it to you as the defendant. The notice of discontinuance brings proceedings to an end on the date it’s served on you.
A claimant who discontinues is liable for your costs unless the court orders otherwise, however, this does not usually apply in small claims cases.
An example of a creditor discontinuing a claim would be a debt purchaser who is unable to supply the evidence (documents) relied on for their case and knows they won’t be able to comply with an order of the court to supply those documents, either at the disclosure stage for fast track and multi track cases or at the pre-hearing directions stage for small claims cases.
When a case is stayed, no further steps can be taken with regards to the claim other than to apply to lift the stay. Stays may be agreed by consent between the parties, or by the court’s own initiative. When a case is stayed, either party can apply to the court to lift the stay.
There are various reasons why cases may be stayed. These can be determined by the court, for example:
Cases can also be stayed due to inaction on the part of the claimant, for example where there has been neither a defence nor an admission filed in six months and the claimant has not requested judgment. A more common example is when a claimant does not respond to a defence. A claimant has 28 days to respond to a defence stating their intention to proceed with (or otherwise discontinue) the case. If they do not respond, the claim will be stayed.