Law guide: Complaints & disputes

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The defendant admits my claim - not fixed sum

The defendant admits my claim - not fixed sum

Contents

How will I know if the defendant admits my claim?

If your claim is for an unspecified amount of money, the defendant will send a Form N9C (admission form) to the court. This is called 'admitting liability' (responsibility) for payment.

If the court served your claim form, the date by which the admission form must be sent to the court ('filed'), will be shown in Form N205B (notice of issue) given, or sent, to you by the court when your claim was issued.

The court will send you a copy of the admission form and Form N226 (notice of admission). The defendant may:

  • Admit liability for your claim without saying how much is admitted
  • Admit liability for your claim and offer a sum of money in satisfaction
  • Admit liability for your claim, offer a sum of money in satisfaction and ask to pay that sum by instalments or at a future date

When do I have to reply to the admission?

You should complete Form N226 and send it to the court by the date shown on it. You must at the same time send a copy to the defendant. If the form is not returned to the court on or before the date shown, your claim will be 'stayed'. This means that the court will not take any action on your claim until the form is returned.

What should I do if the defendant doesn't say how much is admitted?

You should complete Form N226 asking the court to make an order that the defendant pay you an amount of money which the court will decide. This is called 'entering judgment for an amount and costs to be decided by the court'.

How will the court decide what the defendant should pay?

When the court receives your Form N226 requesting that judgment is entered, the court file will be referred to a procedural judge. The judge will decide:

  • Whether a court hearing is necessary
  • What you need to do to help the judge make a decision as to the amount of money you are entitled to, for example, what evidence you should provide

This is called giving 'directions'. Once the judge has made a decision, you and the defendant will be sent an order. This will say you are entitled to judgment on liability and will set out any other directions the judge has given.

The judge may give directions either:

  • Allocating your claim to the small claims track
  • Directing that your claim is given a 'disposal' hearing

The disposal hearing

At the disposal hearing the judge may either:

  • Give more detailed directions about, for example, the documents and other evidence needed for the judge to make a final decision about the amount
  • Decide the amount the defendant has to pay, if it is a simple case which does not need a lengthy hearing

What will happen in your claim will depend on:

  • The likely amount of the damages
  • Whether the defendant is likely to dispute that amount
  • Whether the judge feels there is sufficient proof in the papers available at the hearing to make a final decision

However, the judge will not normally use the disposal hearing to make a final decision unless any additional written evidence you intend to provide to the court has been sent to ('served' on) the defendant at least 3 days before the disposal hearing is due to take place.

What happens after the disposal hearing?

Court staff will set out what the judge decided in an order. Copies will be sent to you and the defendant.

What happens if the defendant offers a sum of money to settle the claim?

You must decide whether or not you are prepared to accept the amount offered. If you do, you should complete Form N226 and return it to the court by the date shown on it.

You must decide how you want the amount paid. Think carefully about this. Although you may want the amount paid immediately, you might be more likely to get your money if you ask for it to be paid by instalments over a period of time. This will depend on the defendant's circumstances.

If you do not accept the amount offered by the defendant, you should complete Form N226 and return it to the court. The court will enter judgment on liability and a judge will decide what will happen next. Both you and the defendant will be sent a copy of the court's order, which may include a date for a disposal hearing.

What happens if the defendant asks to pay the amount by instalments?

If you accept the amount offered and the rate of payment suggested, complete Form N226 and return it to the court by the date given on it. The court will complete Form N30(1) (judgment for claimant) for the defendant to pay at the rate suggested. A copy of the judgment will be sent to both you and the defendant.

What happens if I object to the defendant's suggested rate of payment?

If you object to the rate of payment, you can ask that a court officer decide what would be a reasonable rate. This process is called 'determination'.

Complete Form N226 setting out your reasons for objecting to the rate of payment. Send the form to the court together with a copy of the defendant's admission form. Keep copies of the forms for yourself.

A court officer will calculate what might be a fair rate of payment. The result will be set out in a Form N30(2) (judgment for claimant after determination). Copies will be sent to you and the defendant.

Can I object to the rate of payment fixed by the court officer?

Yes. You (or the defendant) may ask a judge to decide what would be a fair way for the defendant to pay the money. You must write to the court within 14 days of receiving the copy form N30(2). Set out your reasons for objecting to the rate of payment and ask that a judge make the decision.

The judge may deal with your objections without your having to attend court, or at a hearing. If the judge decides to hold a hearing, you and the defendant will be told where and when it will take place.

When the judge has made a decision, you will be sent an order on Form N30(3) (judgment for claimant after re-determination) setting out the judge's decision.

What additional help is available for court users with a disability?

If you have a disability which makes going to court or communicating difficult, contact the court concerned. For more information, visit the Justice website.