Does My Business Have To Reply To A Claim?

If your business is served with formal court proceedings, we can help you.

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By Isabella Mayer - 9th May 2022

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You must respond if your business is served with formal court proceedings. Otherwise, the court may make a decision without hearing your side of the story.

Civils claims against your business

There are various reasons why a person or organisation might pursue a claim against your business. It could be someone who was injured on the business premises, a customer who says you are guilty of professional negligence, or a breach of contract issue.

At some point in the process, the person or organisation making the claim (called the claimant) may issue their claim at court. Your business will then be served with formal court proceedings.

When a claim is issued, it triggers a chain of events that both parties should (in theory) adhere to. The first step is for the defendant to respond to the claim. This gives you the chance to either admit, deny or put forward a counterclaim.

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Should I respond to a claim?

So, you must reply if you are served with formal court proceedings. We understand that it may seem easier to ignore the problem, or bury your head in the sand in the hope that the issue will go away.

However, you are expected to respond to the claim. Moreover, it is in your best interests to do so. The court will not wait for you. When the claim is served, it activates a strict timetable, during which both parties are expected to put their cases forward.

If you do not respond in time, then the court may make a judgement in default against you. This could mean the case is determined without all the facts being heard. This is likely to be to your detriment.

How to respond

To reply to a claim, you need to file the response at the court. If you are representing yourself, ask the court what filing methods are accepted and the timelines involved. Usually, you can send your response in the post, although you should check that you have the correct address. Once received, the document will be placed on the court file.

In your response, you may decide to:

  1. File and serve a defence; or
  2. Bring a counter-claim and/or other type of claim

The best course of action depends on the circumstances of your case. That is why we always recommend getting expert legal advice, should your business be served with formal court proceedings.

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Let us help

If your business is served with formal court proceedings, we can help you. We’ll analyse the claim and discuss your needs with you. Once we have this information, we can talk to you about the options going forward. The aim is to determine whether the claim can be resolved, ensuring you avoid potentially costly and time-consuming court proceedings.

It is important to keep in mind points such as timing, drafting, a fee (if submitting a counterclaim) and service. In many cases these pre-action protocols need to be followed even before litigation has begun.

Contact us for a free, confidential discussion with our solicitors.

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