Default judgment in legal proceedings | Davis Blank Furniss

Default Judgement

Where a defendant fails to respond to legal proceedings within the prescribed time period, the claimant may make an application for default judgment.

If default judgment is granted, the defendant may be able to make an application to set aside the default judgment if, for example:

  • the judgment was “wrongly entered”;
  • the defendant has a “real prospect of successfully defending the claim”; or
  • there is some other good reason why the judgment should be set aside or varied.

Where it is found that the default judgment was “wrongly entered”, the court must set the judgment aside.

Where the application is made on the basis that the defendant has a real prospect of successfully defending the claim or there is some other good reason why the judgment should be set aside, the court has discretion whether or not to allow the application.

Court appeal document

Court Appeal

The factors that must be considered when the court exercises its discretion were summarised in Easyair Ltd (t/a Openair) v Opal Telecom Ltd [2009] All ER (D) 104 (Apr). (a decision approved by the Court of Appeal). Some of these factors are:

  • Whether the defendant has a ‘realistic’ (as opposed to a fanciful) prospect of success.
  • A realistic claim is one that carries some degree of conviction. The defence must be more than arguable.
  • In reaching its conclusion the court must not conduct a ‘mini-trial’.
  • The court must nevertheless analyse everything that the defendant says in his statements before the court.
  • The court must take into account not only the available evidence but also the evidence that can be reasonably be expected to be available at trial.

The court will consider the promptness of an application to set aside a default judgement. Each case depends on its own facts, but in the case of Gentry v Miller and another [2016] EWCA Civ 141, the Court of Appeal did not grant the application to set aside default judgment partly on the basis that even though the defendant had a real prospect of successfully defending the claim, it failed to make the application promptly without any real justification. In that case, two months was considered too much delay. As such, an application to set aside default judgment should be made as soon as possible.

If you require any assistance or advice regarding a default judgment, please contact us on 0161 832 3304 and ask to speak to someone from the Dispute Resolution department.

For more information about Rebecca and her work, please click HERE.

Found this article useful? You might be interested in some of our others:


Read what our clients have to say...

View All

Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

Robert Amsbury (Conveyancing Client)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

Valerie Fisher (Probate Client)

“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

Peter Fernandez, Corporate Director at Royal Bank of Scotland

“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

Anon (Personal Injury client)

“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

Anon (Family client)
5 star service

Our Manchester office is rated 5 stars on Google