Common Issues relating to County Court claims
What happens if the claim is Stayed?
A claim will be Stayed if 6 months has expired from the time a defence or admission should have been filed or a Judgment entered. This means the claim will have effectively be put on hold by the Court. A common situation in which this occurs is when a Claimant has been accepting instalments from a debtor but hasn’t entered Judgment and the debtor has then defaulted on payments.
An application to lift the Stay must be made to Court using form N244 and including a Court fee of £100. The form must include details of why the claim was Stayed and why the Stay should be lifted; it is at the Courts discretion to lift the Stay
What to do if you have an out of jurisdiction claim
If you have contractual terms with a debtor that are based in the jurisdiction of the English Legal System, but the debtor does not reside in England or Wales then the claim is out of jurisdiction and Practice Direction 6B must be complied with. click here for more details.
The Claim itself can be completed as usual and sent to the Court to be sealed however it is the responsibly of the Claimant to serve the claim form on the Defendant and file a Certificate of Service (form N215) with the Court once this has been served. The Court fee remains the same.
What to do if you reach settlement before the claim has been allocated
If you have received payment in full or reached a full and final settlement or agreement before the claim has been allocated to a Court, you can file a Notice of Discontinue using form N279 with the Court and request that the claim be vacated. The claim will then be withdrawn by the Court and will not be continued. If you are accepting instalments Judgment on Admission can be entered.
What to do if you reach settlement after the claim has been allocated
If you reach a settlement agreement or receive payment in full after the claim has been allocated to a hearing, then a Consent Order will need to be filed with the Court. This will state how much the settlement is for and the terms of the settlement. This needs to be signed by both parties and be accompanied by a £100 Court fee.
What to do if you have arranged an instalment arrangement after the claim has been allocated
If an instalment arrangement has been agreed after the claim has been allocated to a hearing a Tomlin Order will need to be filed with the Court, which both parties need to sign, along with a £100 Court fee. This should detail the total amount owed, how much the instalments are for and when these are to be paid; it should also request that the claim be stayed and outline in the Schedule what will happen if the instalments are defaulted on.
An alternative to a Tomlin Order is writing to the Court and informing them that the parties are in a payment arrangement however, if the debtor defaults on payment, then proceedings will need to be reissued to reclaim the remaining balance. The benefit of a Tomlin Order is that if the debtor defaults on payment then Judgment can be requested straight away.