Unfortunately, all too frequently we see cases where individuals have been served with a claim, but have not appreciated the significance of this, and the consequences of how they respond and the effect this could have on the outcome of the claim against them.
If you are served with proceedings, you have 14 days in which to file a defence to the claim against you and to raise any counterclaim. This period can be extended to 28 days if you firstly file an Acknowledgement of Service.
If you do not file a defence within this time, the court will treat the claim as through it has not been contested, and the claimant has the right to ask the court to award Judgment in their favour (Judgment in Default).
Therefore, even if you believe that the claim against you is simply a nuisance claim, if you do not file a defence, there is a significant risk that the claimant will obtain Judgment against you. Although you would be able to apply to have the Judgment Set Aside, [hyperlink to Setting Aside Judgements page] this can be a costly process and, even if successful, will leave you in the position of still having to file a defence.
Oakwood Solicitors regularly act for clients who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having been served with proceedings. Depending on the background to the dispute, there are several possible options and we take a pragmatic approach in advising the most effective strategy to defend the claim in the circumstances.
Often, we find that filing a well drafted and robust defence to a vexatious claim can result in resolving the dispute in a cost-effective and efficient way.
In matters where claims appear to have some merit, and it is clear that further litigation will follow, we provide our clients with frank advice on their position and recommend a suitable strategy for effectively defending the claim.
We are regularly instructed to advise on and draft:
- Defences to small claims, fast-track and multi-track matters;
- Defences to matters in the high court;
- Applications for summary judgment;
- Set Aside applications
Depending on the nature and background to the dispute, we are able to accept instructions on defending a claim under:
- Fixed fee arrangements
- Private fee paying agreements at a competitive hourly rate
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