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Default judgment

Default judgment is a judgment made against the defendant without having a hearing in court.

You may be able to apply for default judgment if the defendant has not done one of the following things within 28 days of being served with your Statement of Claim:

  • filed a Defence
  • returned the goods or paid you an amount equal to their value
  • paid you any interest, fees and costs included with the claim.

If you have not ap​plied for a default judgment and the defendant files a Defence after the 28 days have passed, it is too late to get a default judgment. If this happens you can ask the court at the Pre Trial Review to  'strike out' the Defence and give you judgment because the Defence was filed late.

An application for default judgment can be for:

  • the return of the goods
  • the payment of money equal to the value of the goods.

  If the defendant has:

  • returned some of the goods, or
  • given you some money but less than an amount equal to the value of the goods

since they were served with the Statement of Claim, you can apply for   default judgment for the goods still to be returned, or for an amount equal to the value of the goods less whatever has been paid.   If only the interest, fees and/or costs remain unpaid, you can still get a default judgment for this amount.  

You should apply for a default judgment within nine months of filing the Statement of Claim. This is because the court may dismiss your claim after nine months if you and/or the defendant have filed nothing further in the case.

You can only ask for default judgment for what you claimed in the Statement of Claim. If you did not claim payment for the value of the goods you can not claim it in your application for default judgment.

If you apply for default judgment for payment of money equal to the value of the goods, the court will either:

  • list your case for a brief hearing to decide the value of the goods
  • make a decision in chambers (without having a hearing) based on the evidence provided.  

For more information, see Applying for default judgment for goods - Step by step guide and Checklist - Getting a default judgment in the 'Debt - small claims' topic of this website.  

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