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Default judgments


If you don’t reply to court documents, the county court will issue a default judgment. With no evidence about what you can afford, it may order you to pay the amount in full.

Default judgments: when they happen

If someone (the claimant) thinks you owe them money, they apply to the court for a judgment. You’ll be sent a claim form, together with other court forms to complete.

You must send these back within 14 days (28 days if you apply for more time).

If you don’t, the claimant can apply to the court for a judgment in default. This means that only the claimant’s side of the story is heard.

The claimant is likely to demand the full amount plus fees and interest is ordered to be paid immediately.

A default judgment is binding – the claimant can take steps to have it enforced.

Setting aside a default judgment

You may be able to get a default judgment set aside. This may be possible if  you never received the documents, or were in hospital and didn’t know they’d arrived.
You’ll be expected to prove these facts, and pay a fee.

Cases when the court must set aside a default judgment are when you’ve:

  • already paid everything you owe (so no judgment is necessary);
  • submitted a defence on time ;
  • asked for more time to pay (within the time limit for doing so).

This doesn’t mean the case is over – it just means the court will listen to your side of the argument before deciding.

It’s far better, and cheaper, for you to reply to the forms as soon as you get them.

If you’re refused credit and think it maybe because you have a default CCJ against you, you should check the register.

Default judgment vs default notice

A default notice is different to a default judgment.

  • Default notice Lenders must send you this before taking you to court over unpaid debts. It’s not a court document – it’s the final step a lender must take before going to court.
  • Default judgment This is when the court rules even though it hasn’t heard your side of the story.

About the registers

Through Trust Online you can search for CCJs, high court judgments (HCJs), administration orders (AOs), child support agency (CSA) Magistrates liability orders, and fine defaults.

Geographical coverage

The register for England and Wales is split into four sections:

Trust Online keeps separate public registers for money judgments in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Isle of Man. For more details, see the registers for judgments and fines.

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Understand CCJs, court orders and fines

Millions of people and businesses have records on the Trust Online registers.  Read our guide to understanding judgments and fines or check out our FAQs and help.

About Us

Registry Trust Ltd is the official Keeper of the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales. It collects and makes available similar information for other geographical locations ... Read More

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Trust Online is part of Registry Trust Ltd, a non-profit company limited by guarantee