Respond to a court claim for money

How to respond

1. How to respond

You’ll be sent a form by a county court if someone claims you owe them money. You must respond to it within 14 days.

You can respond by:

You might have to pay more or get a county court judgment (CCJ) if you don’t respond in time.

If you need more time to respond

You can ask for another 14 days to respond if you’re defending the claim or paying only what you think you owe.

Download and fill in the acknowledgement of service form in the response pack.

Send it to the court address on the claim form.

The rules are different in Scotland.

Pay the full amount

2. Pay the full amount

Send a cheque or postal order made payable to the person or business you owe money to (the ‘claimant’). Their name and address will be on the claim form.

You can also pay the claimant in person.

Keep proof (for example, your bank records or a receipt from the claimant) to show you’ve paid.

If you can’t afford to pay the full amount at once

You can offer to pay in instalments or by a certain date.

Download and fill in either:

You must say how you want to pay (a certain amount per month for example) and send the completed form to the address on the claim form.

If the claimant doesn’t accept your offer, the court will decide how you pay.

You can be taken to court and you may have to pay extra costs if you don’t keep up the payments.

If the claim is for an unspecified amount

Download and fill in admission form N9A. Either:

  • ask the court to decide how much you owe
  • offer to pay a certain amount

You might have to give more information at a hearing if you ask the court to decide or the claimant rejects your offer.

The court will tell you when and where the hearing will take place.

If you’ve already paid

You must defend the claim if you’ve already paid the claimant.

You might still have to pay court fees if you paid the claimant after they made the claim.

Pay some of the money

3. Pay some of the money

If you don’t agree with the amount on the claim form, you can apply to the court to pay only what you think you owe.

You must send the court both:

  • an admission form to say how much you’ll pay
  • a defence form to explain why you don’t owe the full amount

Which forms you fill in will depend on whether the claim is for a fixed (‘specified’) or an unspecified amount.

Use Money Claim Online instead if the claim was made online.

If the claim is for a specified amount

Download and fill in:

If the claim is for an unspecified amount

Download and fill in:

If your offer is rejected

The court will decide how much you owe.

You might have to give more information at a hearing. The court will tell you when and where the hearing will take place.

Defend the claim

4. Defend the claim

You can defend the claim if either:

  • you don’t think you owe the other person or business any money
  • you’ve already paid them

You can also make a claim against them (‘counterclaim’) if you think they owe you money. You might have to pay a court fee.

Download and fill in either:

Use Money Claim Online instead if the claim was made online.

The court will decide whether you owe any money, and how much.

You might have to give more information at a hearing. The court will tell you when and where the hearing will take place.

Going to a court hearing

5. Going to a court hearing

If there’s a hearing, you can:

  • represent yourself
  • pay for a barrister or solicitor to represent you
  • ask someone to advise you in court – they don’t have to be a lawyer
  • ask someone to speak on your behalf – you might need to get the court’s permission

Your hearing can be held in the judge’s room or a courtroom in a county court if the claim is for less than £10,000. There might be a more formal hearing if the claim is for more.

After the hearing

You’ll get a decision on the day of the hearing. The court will also send you a copy of the decision by post.

Appeal the decision

You can ask to appeal the decision if you think the judge made a mistake during the hearing. You must ask within 21 days of the date the decision was made.

Contact Citizen’s Advice to get advice on appealing.

Last updated: 25 October 2016

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