What should you do if you receive a Claim Form in the post?

Opening your post in the morning and being notified of a claim being brought against you in the Courts can be a scary position to find yourself in and can bring with it all kinds of emotions. There can be the tendency to panic, to get angry or even to put your head in the sand and ignore the issue.

While these are completely reasonable reactions and whether you are a business owner, a professional or a private individual, the best thing to do is not to panic. As soon as you receive any legal documents from the Courts in the post, or if you are served with them in person, you should contact your solicitor who can help you.

For the most part, it is extremely rare that you would be served with a claim without having any prior knowledge of the basis of the claim or the dispute before it is issued by the Court. There are various protocols which a Claimant has to comply with in order to initiate a claim in the courts and therefore usually you would have been made aware of a dispute and probably threatened with legal proceedings before you receive any documents from the Court. Therefore, if you have been made aware that a claim is being made against you, whether it is by someone who says you owe them money, or that you have flouted an agreement, or even a tricky neighbour, you should be alert to the fact that you may be served with documentation at any time. Ignoring post that you receive by simply not opening it or failing to collect it from your registered office if you are a business, can cause you even more problems down the line. Claimants are entitled to serve documentation on you at your last known address, which can include a business address, and therefore you should check with your registered business address to see if any documentation has been received on your behalf. Failure on your part to open or collect post is not a valid excuse to have a claim set aside if the service of the documents was at an appropriate address.

In addition to this, there are various requirements imposed on Defendants by the Courts, and if you are served with a claim then you will have a limited period of time within which to respond, thereby allowing you the opportunity to have your say, whether you are intending on defending the claim or not. For the most part, if you fail to respond to the claim within 14 days of service of the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim or Witness Statement upon you, then the Claimant may have the opportunity to enter a Judgment in Default against you, particularly if it is a claim for money. It is much more difficult to retrospectively try and deal with a claim or seek to have a Judgment set aside than it is to deal with it in a timely manner in the first place.

If you have been advised that someone may have a claim against you or have received a Claim Form or notification of legal proceedings in the post or by personal service, then the Litigation team at Meaby & Co are the people to contact to guide you through the process and take the next steps on your behalf swiftly and efficiently. We aim to take as much of the stress away from you as possible to allow you to get on with looking after your home or family or running your business.

Contact Caoimhe Boyce on cboyce@meaby.co.uk or 0207 703 5034 as soon as possible when you receive a notification of a claim against you for expert guidance or to find out more.