IF THE DEFENCE IS FILED LATE THE CLAIMANT IS STILL ENTITLED TO DEFAULT JUDGMENT: TWO POINTS TO WATCH

“30. I therefore reject the First Defendant’s argument on this point too and find that there has been no good reason for the failure to file and serve a Defence.”
All the circumstances of the case

The Deputy Master held:

The merits of the Defence could only be considered where it was clear that the defence was very weak. He would not embark on a mini-trial.
There was no good reason for the delay.
There had been a conscious decision on the part of the First Defendant no to comply with the rules. The First Defendant had taken a conscious decision not to file a defence on the due date.
The fact that the claimant was seeking a declaratory judgment was not in itself a good reason which justified an extension of time for filing and serving the defence.
The Deputy Master rejected the defendant’s application for an extension of time.”

Civil Litigation Brief

The decision of Deputy Master Pickering in Billington -v- Davies [2016] EWHC 1919 (Ch) illustrates two important principles that are often overlooked.

  1. A claimant that has applied for default judgment in default of defence is still entitled to default judgment even if the defence is filed between the date of the application and the date of the hearing.
  2. An application for an extension of time for filing a defence is dealt with on the basis of CPR 3.9 and Denton principles.

THE CASE

The claimant brought an action for £1,652.320 alleging that money he had placed with the defendants had been misappropriated and that he had been the victim of fraud. The First Defendant filed an acknowledgment of service. The defence was due on the 4th January 2016. No defence was served and, on the 11th April 2016, the claimant issued an application for judgment in default of filing a…

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