Setting aside a County Court Judgement (Judgement in Default)

We were recently instructed by a client to make an application to the Coventry County Court to set aside a County Court Judgement (CCJ) that had been entered against him. The client had returned all of the paperwork to the court after he received the initial claim from the claimant. However due to postal delays the court did not receive it until after the deadline for filing had passed. A CCJ was therefore entered against our client in default i.e. because he had not returned the paperwork to the Court by the specified date. Our client was not aware that a CCJ had been entered against him until he received a number of telephone calls from companies saying that they were aware of his CCJ and that they could help him get it set aside. A CCJ is recorded on your credit file and can seriously impact your ability to obtain any form of credit in the future. In most circumstances it will prevent you from obtaining car finance, a mobile phone contract, loans or a mortgage. Our client was aware of this and it was important to him that he had a good credit history which is why he had initially returned the court paperwork as soon as he had received it. Grounds for Setting Aside Judgement The civil procedure rules (the rules that govern all Civil Court cases) set out when a Court may set aside a default judgement. Rule 13.3 states that a court may set a default judgement aside if: (1) a) the defendant has a real prospect of defending the claim; or b) it appears to the Court that there is some other good reason why- (i) the judgement should be set aside or varied; or (ii) the defendant should be allowed to defend his claim (2) the person seeking to set aside the judgement made an application to do so promptly Application to Set Aside Judgement We made the application to set aside judgement as soon as we were instructed. Together with the application we set out why our client had a real prospect of defending the claim together with a draft defence. A hearing date was set and at the hearing we explained to the Judge that our client had initially returned the Court paperwork but that this was not received by them until after the last date by which it had to be filed. We also explained that our client had acted promptly as soon as he had been made aware that a judgement had been entered against him and that, for the reasons set out if the draft defence, he had a real prospect of defending the claim. The Claimant was at the hearing and vigorously objected to our application. The Judge agreed with our arguments and made an order that the CCJ be set aside. This allowed our client to fully defend the claim and meant that the CCJ was not entered on his credit record.