Default judgment—general principles
Default judgment—general principles

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Default judgment—general principles
  • What is a default judgment?
  • At what stage in the proceedings can a default judgment be obtained?
  • Is the claimant required to obtain a default judgment?
  • When default judgment cannot be obtained—type of claim/CPR provision/practice direction
  • When default judgment cannot be obtained—action by the defendant
  • Default judgment and multiple defendants
  • Default judgment and multiple or related proceedings
  • Retrospective service of the claim form
  • Can a default judgment be sought at the same time as alternative service?
  • more

The UK has voted to leave the EU and this will take place on exit day as defined in section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This has implications for practitioners when considering the use of default judgments. Changes to CPR 12 and CPR 13 dealing with default judgments have been set out in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/521 and will come into force on exit day. For information about the changes, including any related practice direction changes made by the 107th practice direction update, see Practice Note: Brexit—CPR changes.

A default judgment is also referred to as a judgment in default, judgment in default of acknowledgment of service and judgment in default of defence.

It is important to be familiar with the circumstances in which the court will set aside a judgment in default as if those circumstances exist it may not be worth incurring the expense of an application. For information, see Practice Note: Default judgment—general principles for setting aside.

What is a default judgment?

A default judgment is defined in CPR 12.1 as a judgment without a trial where a defendant has failed to file an acknowledgment of service or has failed to file a defence. It produces a judgment in favour of a claimant without the need to pursue proceedings