If you are served a claim notice, you must decide if you are going to defend the case or not.

If you decide not to defend the case (i.e. accept that you were wrong), you should contact the claimant or their solicitor within 10 days of receipt of the claim notice to agree a settlement and prevent the matter going before the District Court.

If you decide to defend the case, you must serve a document called an ‘appearance and defence’ on the claimant or their solicitor not later than 28 days after service of the claim notice.  You must also serve it on the District Court clerk.

The appearance and defence must state:

  • The District Court area
  • The names of the claimant and respondent
  • The respondent’s details
  • That the respondent intends to defend the claim notice
  • A statement of the grounds of defence, set out in numbered paragraphs.

The grounds of defence must state:

  • Whether the facts in the claimant’s statement of claim are admitted, not admitted or denied, and the reasons for denying the fact
  • A list of all correspondence and other documents on which the respondent will rely in a trial, including relevant dates
  • If a counterclaim is being made, a notice and statement of counterclaim must also be included.

The appearance and defence must be dated and signed by the respondent/respondent’s solicitor.

If you consider that the claim notice does not provide you with enough information you may apply to the claimant (on notice), at any time before or when serving an appearance and defence, for copy documents listed in the statement of claim or further particulars on matters in the statement of claim. 

If further particulars have been requested, you may serve and file an amended defence not later than 28 days after you receive the further particulars.

Likewise, if the claimant considers that your defence does not provide enough information, they may apply to you for copies of all or any of the documents listed in the defence and further particulars, within 28 days of receiving the defence.