Potential new rules for debt claims in the County Court

The days of filling out forms and queuing at the counter at your local county court to issue a debt claim are long gone. Today, anyone can start a claim via their iPad (other mobile devices are available) without even stepping out from under their duvet.

As motor traders, that potentially makes you vulnerable as customers become willing to pay the relatively modest sums to issue a money claim on line. Of course many of these customers will be merely chancing their arm but if you do not respond to the claim within 14 days, you are likely to find yourself with a default judgment against you. Fail to act on that and you could find yourself as an unwilling TV star on BBC 1’s ‘The Sheriffs are Coming’.

'The Sheriffs are Coming' or Channel 5’s ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll take it Away’ on which ex footballer Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock made a recent appearance.   

Currently, with regard to debt claims there is no set pre-action protocol as there is with other types of claims such as Personal Injury or Defamation claims. However, that could all be about to change as the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (who are essentially responsible for how things are conducted in the County Courts) are currently consulting on the introduction of such a protocol.

Once the new protocol is issued we will of course advise on any impact it could have for our clients who could of course, find themselves on either side of a court claim.

Authors: Nona Bowkis

Published: 16 Sep 2014


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