Dealing with Debt Collectors ... Small Claims Court and Procedure ... Statutory Demands ...

Setting Aside Judgement

If you are a Defendant, you may not become aware that judgment has been made against you until a court bailiff contacts you. If so, you can apply to set aside judgment and so stop the Claimant from trying to enforce it.

You need an "Application Notice Form" from the court. You will need to support your application with either an affidavit or a statement.

Usually a court will set aside judgment if you did not receive any court papers and so were unaware of the case against you. For example, the Claimant may have given the wrong address to the court. Both you and the Claimant will go to a hearing and you will have to explain why the judgment should be set aside.

Once judgment is set aside, you can prepare a defence. The process will then follow the normal procedure which the court will explain to you.

As the Claimant, if you know that particulars of your claim may not have reached the Defendant, you should apply to set aside the judgment. The Court rules set out when you can apply to set aside a judgment. For example:

  • You may not have received the original claim form
  • You may have moved house and not had post from your previous address
  • An order was made against you in your absence in certain circumstances
  • There may be an error in the judgment
  • You want to put in a defence and did not have the opportunity to do this
  • The proceedings did not follow the court rules

Default Judgments

You may have a Default Judgment made against if there was no hearing and you have not returned the "Acknowledgement of Service" form. Also, if you have not returned the form asking for time to pay within the time limits.
You should not have a Default Judgment if you paid off the whole amount owed.
The court must set aside the Default Judgment if you:

  • Sent back the Acknowledgement of Service form within the time limit
  • Put in a defence within the time limit
  • Returned the reply form asking for time to pay within the time limit.

The court may agree to set aside the Default judgment if you did not send in a reply form within the time limits if it thinks you have real chance of a successful defence to the claim or you have a "good reason", eg. you did not get the papers through the post.
The court must then consider if:
The court must then consider if:

  • The defendant has a reasonably arguable defence
  • The default arose through the fault of the defendant or through his advocates
  • The defendant delayed in applying to set aside the judgment
  • Serious injustice would result if the defendant did not defend the action
  • The plaintiffs would suffer injustice if the default judgment were set aside

What happens next?

The court may fix a date for a hearing to discuss the reasons for your application with a District Judge at your local County Court or your application may be allowed without the need for a hearing

What happens to a judgment that is 'set aside'?

If the judgment is set aside, the proceedings go back to the claim stage and you have a new opportunity to reply to the claim, make an offer of payment or put in a defence or counterclaim. The details of the proceedings will be removed from the County Court Register until a new judgment is made.

The new judgment will be recorded for six years on your credit file.