If your debt recovery journey has brought you to the point of legal action against your debtor, there are a number of ways in which you can collect your debt. The first thing that you need to know is that debtors have the right to defend claims of non payment. If the debtor does not decided to defend the claim then you move straight to judgement for a decision on the repayment of the debt.
If your debtor does decided to defend the claim made against them, then it may be necessary for you to prepare for a Court hearing. The process to be followed will be dependent on the Court in which the proceedings are issued and typically are as follows:
District Court Proceedings for Claims Defended by Debtor
Step 1 – Submitting Appearance and Defence
If Court proceedings are issued in the District Court a debtor may submit a form that they wish to defend the claim made against them. This form is called an Appearance and Defence and must be made with 28 days of the receipt of proceedings.
Step 2 – Seeking a Court Date
Following this, you may then seek a court date from the Court’s office and inform the debtor of the Court date by serving a notice of trial on the debtor.
Step 3 – Obtaining Jugdment
At the hearing, the judge will hear the both sides of the case and will either decide in your favour or in favour of the debtor. In cases where the Judge rules in favour of the debtor the case is dismissed and costs may be awarded against you. If the judge does decide in your favour then Judgment will issue in your favour and you will most likely be awarded costs recoverable from the debtor.
If the debtor cannot pay the amount owed to you, the Judge may allow the debtor a certain amount of time whereby they do not have to pay the debt, this period of time is called a stay of execution. Alternatively, the Judge may decide that the debt will be paid in instalments to you if the debtor cannot pay in full at the time.
Circuit Court Proceedings for Claims Defended by Debtor
Step 1 – Entering an Appearance
Where proceedings are issued in the Circuit Court and the debtor wishes to defend the claim, the debtor must submit a form, in writing, to the Court that they wish to defend the claim. The form that the debtor submits to the Circuit Court is called an ‘Entry of Appearance’. The process by which the debtor submits the form is called ‘entering an Appearance’. The debtor must enter an appearance within 10 days of Court proceedings having been issued.
Step 2 – Debtor Submits Their Defence
The debtor will then be required to submit their defence and must do so within 21 days of notifying the Circuit Court that they wish to defend (entering an Appearance). A copy of the defence notice must also be sent to your solicitor.
Step 3 – Seeking a Court Date and Judgment
Once the debtors defence has been submitted then you may obtain a hearing date from the Circuit Court and notify the debtor. The hearing will take place before a Judge and you will need witnesses to give evidence to prove the debt. The Judge will hear both sides and make a Judgment.
If the debtor fails to enter an Appearance, you can seek judgement against the debtor without the need for a trail. This is called Judgment in Default.
High Court Proceedings for Claims Defended by Debtor
Step 1 – Entering an Appearance
Where proceedings are issued in the High Court the debtor should enter an appearance to notify the court of their intent to defend the claim made against them within 8 days of receipt of proceedings.
Step 2 – Seeking Judgment
Once the debtor has notified the high court that they wish to defend the claim the next step in recovering your debt is to apply to the Master of the High Court for judgement. If the Master of the High Court does not think that this case needs to be referred to a High Court Judge then he may give Judgment immediately and rule in favour or you or the debtor.
However, if the debtor is in a position to show the Master that their case should be heard by a Judge then the Master of the High Court may refer the case to be heard by a High Court Judge. The High Court Judge, at this point, may grant Judgment for or against your debtor but can also refer the case for a full hearing in the High Court.
Step 3 – Full Hearing in the High Court
If your debt collection journey brings you to a full hearing in the High Court you will be required you to file a ‘Statement of Claim’. A Statement of Claim outlines the nature, extent and grounds of the claim your are making against your debtor, the allegations against your debtor and the damage that you have suffered by your debtors failure to pay the debt. This will contain exactly what you are seeking from the court in order to recovery your debt.
Once your Statement of Claim is sent to the debtor, the debtor will be required to submit their Defence. Once received, it will be necessary for you to review the Defence. You will work with your debt recovery solicitor in order to gather all the information necessary and decide the best way to proceed. A hearing in the High Court involves witnesses, therefore you must have witnesses that can confirm/prove the debt is owed to you. The Judge will hear both sides before giving Judgment.
Talk to a Debt Recovery Solicitor and Get Paid Faster
Regardless of the Court in which your proceeding have been issued, there is a path by which you can recovery your debt. It is always advised to speak with a Debt Recovery Solicitor to ensure that you follow the procedure correctly and collect your debt sooner. If you would like to discuss in more detail, Carlisle Solicitors Lead Debt Recovery Solicitor, Sarah Walsh, would be delighted to assist you. You can reach her on 00353 1 653 3370 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and together we can ensure that you get paid faster.