What is a default judgment?
If a debtor does not respond to a Statement of Claim you have filed and, you may apply to the Court for judgment. Where there is no defence filed to the Statement of Claim this called a “default judgment” because it is in default of any opposition by the defendant. Default judgment may be granted by the Court without the need for a hearing or further attendance in Court.
A judgment is enforceable for a period of 12 years from the date the judgment has been entered by the Court. Therefore, it can be very beneficial to proceed to obtain judgment where possible even if you are uncertain of the assets which might be available to meet that judgment.
How do I obtain default judgment against a debtor?
Once you have served a Statement of Claim, a debtor will normally have 28 days to either:
- Pay the debt;
- Negotiate a payment arrangement or settlement option;
- File and serve a defence; or
- File a form acknowledging the debt.
If the debtor does not undertake any of the above steps, you may than apply for default judgment against the debtor. This judgment will normally be entered for the amount of the remaining debt plus interest and costs incurred. Once default judgment has been granted, you may then take steps to enforce the judgment to recover the debt.
What if I recover some of the debt before I obtain default judgment?
If you recover some of the debt from the debtor before you obtain a default judgment, you can still apply for default judgment for the balance, together with costs and interest. Even if debtor pays the whole of the original debt but does not pay the outstanding costs or interest, it may still be possible to obtain default judgment if the amounts involved warrant doing so.
What do I do once I have obtained default judgment?
Once you have obtained default judgment you will need to consider what judgment debt recovery options will be suitable for you. For more information regarding enforcing your default judgment click here.
Debt Collection – Default Judgment
If you would need assistance with collecting money owed by a debtor, obtaining a default judgment against the debtor or enforcing a default judgment, contact Matthews Folbigg Lawyers for specialist advice as to what debt recovery options will be most effective for you.