21 Jun There’s a Judgement Debt Against Me, Now What?
Many people find themselves in a situation where there is a judgement debt against them without their knowledge. A judgement debt is an enforceable Court order, and can affect your credit rating.
It might be the case that you did not receive the original claim in the post, and therefore were unaware of the proceedings, or it might be the case that you have a reasonable excuse for not having complied with the timeframes or procedures, and have an arguable case against the judgement debt.
If you are aware of a judgement debt that has been made against you, it is very important to act urgently and seek legal advice. You may be able to apply to set aside a default judgement if you can prove the following:
- You have an arguable case on the merits; and
- You have a reasonable excuse for not having complied with the rules with respect to filing a defence within the 21 day time limit.
A reasonable excuse must be one which illustrates why you could not or did not file your defence on time. There may be many reasons for this, such as not receiving the claim, moving address, are on holiday, an error with respect to the address for service, the claim being posted to a company, agent, or accountant, or otherwise if you were subject to illness or hospitalisation.
You must also establish that you have an arguable case on the merits. This can often be difficult to prove. This will largely depend on the facts of your matter, and each case is unique. Again, you should seek legal advice with respect to the default judgement debt.
If the default judgement is set aside, you will then generally be ordered to file a defence and proceedings will commence with respect to defending the debt against you. This will enable you to then defend the claim or enter into negotiations with the claimant to settle the dispute.
If you require any assistance in relation to a debt against you, please do not hesitate to contact the staff at Belperio Clark on 08 8212 1322.