Default Judgments & Setting Aside Judgments in Default

Default Judgments & Setting Aside Judgments in Default

If you have been served with a Default Judgment, and need expert legal advice on how to negotiate the complex legal issues surrounding Default Judgments, the expert lawyers at top Bahamas law firm Parris Whittaker are ready to advise.

What is a Default Judgment?

A Default Judgment is made by the courts in favour of either party in a case, where the opposing party has failed to take the appropriate action. Probably the most common kind of Default Judgment will be in a civil trial for damages. In such cases the Plaintiff will begin the proceedings by issuing a Claim Form setting out the sum they wish to recover from the other side. In some cases there will be no money involved, but other forms of recompense.

The Claim Form is then served on the Defendant, who will have 14 days in which to respond to the Court, and a further 28 days to take the next step. If at either stage the Defendant fails to make the appropriate response within the timescale set out, the Plaintiff can apply to the courts for a Default Judgment.

Usually, the Default Judgment will be worded by the Plaintiff, and it will set out the original sum claimed plus interest, together with a sum to cover court fees and legal costs. Alternatively, a Default Hearing will enable the Court to set the sum of money to be paid. A Default Judgment is binding, and if the Defendant does not comply, enforcement action can be taken.

Setting Aside a Default Judgment

If you have been served a Default Judgment, it is important to secure expert legal advice from a firm of expert lawyers such as Parris Whittaker, because there are steps that can be taken to set aside the judgment and revert to the original claim - after which the usual steps to counter the claim can be taken.

The three main grounds on which an application can be made to set aside the Default Judgment are:

  • The original claim documents were not served correctly. The Default Judgment would be set aside as ‘an irregular judgment’.
  • The Defendant has good reason why the Default Judgment should be set aside. Reasons such as severe illness or lengthy absences from home are common.
  • The Claimant was not entitled to enter the Judgment. Court staff are responsible for checking administrative protocols are adhered to, but mistakes can occur.

Parris Whittaker: expert legal help when it’s needed.

It is clear that if you have been served a Default Judgment, you need swift, incisive legal advice. Equally, if you are a Plaintiff and your Default Judgment has been challenged, you will need expert guidance. The award-winning lawyers at Parris Whittaker have many years’ experience in handling all aspects of Default Judgments, and are ready to take your call.