Statement of Claim
I’ve been served with a statement of claim. What do I do?
As a business owner, being served with a statement of claim can be a challenging and stressful experience, and not everyone knows what to do. A statement of claim is a formal document sent to you by another party, the plaintiff, asking you, the defendant, to pay money owing to them. It is important that you take a statement of claim seriously, as failure to respond appropriately can result in further court action, which can impact on the future of your business.
If you’ve been served with a statement of claim and don’t know what to do, then Lawbase is here to help. We are passionate about providing small businesses with the right advice – when you need it most. We’ve outlined a list of options and things you need to do, should your business receive a statement of claim.
The first thing to do is check your financial records to see whether your information matches the information contained in the statement of demand.
Everyone makes mistakes and it may be that either you or the plaintiff have made an error. When you’ve checked the details of the debt, there are several options you can take.
Options on what to do when you receive a statement of claim
Ask the plaintiff for more information
If the statement of claim does not contain enough information for you to fully understand the claim being made against you, you can write a ‘request for further and better particulars.’ In this document, it’s essential you ask the plaintiff not to take the matter any further while you wait for this additional information.
Pay the overdue amount
If your records show that you do own the plaintiff money and you agree with all the details they have given, then it’s best to pay what you owe. If you decide to pay the full amount in one lump sum, then make sure you notify the court that you and the plaintiff have settled the matter by filing a ‘notice of payment’. Once this is filed, the court will then ‘stay’ or stop the proceedings against you.
Negotiate with the plaintiff
If you agree that you owe the plaintiff, but you cannot pay back the full amount straight away, then you can negotiate to repay the debt in instalments. Most plaintiffs are open to negotiation – it’s in their best interests to make it easier for you to pay them back! If you and the plaintiff reach an agreement, ask them to formally halt proceedings against you. It’s also crucial that you get any agreement you reach in writing.
File a defence
If you dispute all or part of the claim, then you can notify the court of your disagreement by filing a defence. If this is the option you choose, we highly recommend you seek legal advice before you proceed.
Top tips on what to do if you receive a statement of claim
- Respond to a statement of claim within 28 days to avoid any court action
- Check your financial records
- Pay any overdue amount immediately, or arrange a payment schedule.
Lawbase are dedicated to helping small and start-up businesses, and we believe in offering all our clients a personalised approach. If you have any questions about a statement of claim your business has received, or if you have any other queries, then we can advise you on how to proceed. Contact the team at Lawbase today for advice tailored to suit you and your business.