Advice For Business

County Court Judgments

What happens when we have sent your Letter Before Action, the deadline for payment has expired and you haven’t received your money? One of the options available to you is to pursue your debt through the County Court.

In the majority of our cases, a letter before action is often enough to obtain payment from your defendant. However, if the defendant fails to make payment then you have the option to issue Court proceedings.

Our Debt Recovery team will advise you fully before issuing proceedings having made an assessment of your claim and the commercial viability of your opponent and then, if so instructed by you, proceed to issuing a Claim Form in the County Court. Our experienced solicitors will carry out due diligence to ascertain whether the defendant is worth suing before starting Court action.

The issuing of proceedings involves drafting details of the claim and gathering supportive evidence in the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim. This is both for written contracts and oral contract. Once we have prepared the Court papers and paid the Court fee, the court will then send the Court papers to the defendant for them to answer to. The date of service is when the Court has sent the Court papers to the Defendant and it is deemed ‘served’.

The Defendant will then be allowed 14 days from the date of ‘service’ of the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim to prepare a Defence. If the Defendant sends an Acknowledgement of Service, then this allows them an extra 14 days to prepare the Defence. Therefore, the Defence will be due 28 days from the date of ‘service’ of the Court papers.

If the Defendant simply ignores the court papers and does not file a Defence in compliance with the Court deadlines, then we can enter default judgment and you will obtain a County Court Judgment against the Defendant.

In some cases your Defendant may choose to defend their position in the court proceedings which results in your case proceeding as a defended action. This will include gathering documents to support your claim, preparing witness statements and instructing an advocate to attend the final court hearing.

We have the necessary expert solicitors who will be able to advise you fully of all your options and provide you with an estimate of the costs that you are likely to incur. We will navigate you through all the legal process and prepare your claim in an effective way to maximise the impact of the case when it goes to court.

Our solicitors are experienced negotiators and it may be that the claim can be settled once Court proceedings have been issued. Often parties will agree to settle claims before any final hearing and our qualified solicitors are able to negotiate a settlement assertively on your behalf.

In some occasions, the Defendants are unwilling to negotiate. Therefore, your claim proceeds to trial, provided your claim is for over £10,000 in value and your claim is successful, then you will be able to recover the majority of your legal costs from the Defendant and we will work swiftly to enforce the Court’s Judgment. For claims below £10,000 see our Small Claims Court section.

If you require further advice in connection with any aspect of Debt Recovery, please contact Asa Cocker on 0161 785 3500 in the Debt Recovery team.