After you have filed and served your Statement of Claim, the next steps in your case depend on what the defendant does.
The defendant may do one of the following things when they receive your Statement of Claim:
The defendant could also file a Cross Claim. For more information, see Cross Claims.
If your address changes after you file your Statement of Claim, you must let the court and the defendant know. For more information, see Change of address for service. If you want to withdraw your claim, you need to file a Notice of Discontinuance or get leave (permission) from the court. You should get legal advice about withdrawing your claim, as you may have to pay some costs to the defendant. For more information, see Discontinuing a case - Step by step guide.
A Defence is a form that the defendant fills out and files at the court. It states that the defendant does not agree they owe you all or part of the money claimed and the reasons why.
The court will send a copy of the Defence to you. The court will also advise you that you have to attend court for a Pre Trial Review on a specific date.
If your case does not settle at the Pre Trial Review, you will be given a date for the hearing of your claim by an assessor or magistrate. Before the hearing, you will need to prepare witness statements and other evidence and give copies to the court and the defendant. After the hearing the assessor or magistrate will decide whether the defendant owes you any money and how much the defendant owes.
For more information, see Defended cases.
For more information, see Pre Trial Review - Step by step guide, Preparing for the hearing - Step by step guide, and Presenting your case at the hearing - Step by step guide.
An Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim states that the defendant agrees they owe the debt. Once an Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim is filed, the court will automatically give a judgment in your favour for your claim amount plus costs and any interest.
If the defendant files an Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim they may also make an application to pay by instalments if they cannot afford to pay the debt in one lump sum. For more information, see Payment by instalments - Creditor.
If the defendant does not pay the debt, you can take enforcement action. For more information, see After the case.
The time limit for a defendant to file a Defence is 28 days from the date they were served with your Statement of Claim. If the defendant does not pay the debt, file a Defence or file an Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim within 28 days you can apply to the court to get a judgment for the whole amount of your claim. This is a default judgment. The 28 days does not include the day on which the claim was served. For example, if the claim was served on 1 June then the first day you can apply for default judgment is 30 June.
You will have to complete an application form and file it at the court, along with an Affidavit of Service if the court did not serve the Statement of Claim by post.
For more information, see Default judgment.
If the defendant pays you the total amount on the Statement of Claim (including interest, filing fee, and legal fees if you have a solicitor), they can file a Notice of Payment with the Court.
Alternatively, you can file a Notice of Discontinuance for your claim. Either of these notices will finish the case. For more information about filing a Notice of Discontinuance, see Settling the case.
If neither of you files anything, the court will dismiss the claim nine months after the Statement of Claim was filed.
If the defendant pays you less than the full amount on the Statement of Claim and does not file a Defence, you can still apply for a judgment for the unpaid amount.
For more information, see Default judgment. The court will dismiss your claim nine months after you filed your Statement of Claim if the defendant has not filed a Defence, Cross Claim, Notice of Payment or Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim, and you have not applied for a default judgment. If you still wanted to recover money from the defendant, you would have to start a new case and pay further court fees.