Never ignore court paperwork


In a recent set aside hearing the judge was having none of it and refused to set aside the judgement.

Author: Polly Davies
Reading time: 3 minutes

This article is 6 months old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

We submit a fair number of applications to set aside judgements in default where our member has not received the claim, or not submitted a defence. 

They are generally successful and in the interests of justice, the matter proceeds to a full trial. However, in a recent set aside hearing the judge was having none of it and refused to set aside the judgement, ostensibly because he found the vehicle was defective at the point of sale and the defendant therefore had no real prospect of successfully defending the claim.  However, the judge also made it very clear he did not accept the defendant’s submission they had not received the claim in the first place. 

It was our member, the defendant, who stated they did not receive the claim during the pandemic due to the stretched postal service and that they promptly submitted an application to set it aside when the judgement in default was received. 

The other party argued our member would have been prudent to have their post redirected to someone in the company so that it could have been monitored.  They argued that as the business has been able to operate remotely, the defendant should have received emails and should have been on notice.  The other party argued, that on the balance of probabilities, the defendant had received the claim form but had not acted upon it and the judge agreed with them. 

The judge went on to find the vehicle was defective at the point of sale in any event and that he did not consider that the defendant’s lack of awareness of the summons constituted a good reason why the default judgement should be set aside.  The judge found the defendant had been on notice and that a default judgement was ‘coming down the track’, given they had chosen to ignore the claim. 


Websites for dealers small and large

Composer is a next-gen automotive platform that has been designed from the ground up to give you an intuitive way to promote your stock. You have extensive stock management options, and you'll gain a brilliantly responsive new website to advertise your stock, starting at just £39.99/month.

The judge was not persuaded that the closure of the business premises was a sound reason to set aside judgement and commented that it is essential for all businesses to manage their premises and in this case, the defendant had not. 

Another member has incurred costs following their failure to respond to an employment tribunal claim during the disruption caused by the pandemic and a variety of other factors. 

Tribunal rules are extremely harsh as to the effect of failing to present a response to an employment tribunal claim.  It prevents the respondent from participating in any hearing of the case, save as permitted by the tribunal and unfortunately, counsel’s advice to our member was that the cost of taking the extremely late action required would likely outweigh the outcome.  We cannot stress enough – do not ignore court paperwork under any circumstances.  Make sure you have administrative systems in place to manage in any eventuality. 

Polly Davies

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.