I owe the money but can’t afford to pay. What should I do?
If Court proceedings have been commenced against you but you cannot afford to pay generally the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and hope that the problem goes away. It is unlikely that the problem will go away and if you fail to respond to the Court proceedings the size of the debt is likely to increase. You could also, at a future point, face a Bailiff turning up at your property to seize your goods or the Claimant (the person to whom you owe the money) obtaining an order for sale of your house.
How do I respond to the Court proceedings?
If you admit that the debt is due you should send to the Court an Admission. You should have received a Response Pack when you were served with the proceedings. The Response Pack should contain an Admission form. If you did not receive an Admission form a copy can be obtained from the Court or found on the Court Service’s website.
When should the Admission be sent to the Court?
The Admission form has to be sent to the Court within 14 days of you being served with the proceedings. The date upon which you were considered to have been served with the proceedings may be different from the date upon which you actually received the proceedings. If in doubt you should telephone the Court in which the proceedings were commenced, quoting the Claim Number printed on the Claim Form, to find out how long you have to send the admission.
What if my Admission is sent late?
If you do not send the Admission form to the Court on time judgment is likely to be entered against you. This process is known as judgment in default. If judgment in default is entered against you then the amount of the debt is likely to increase.
If you have already missed the deadline for sending an Admission to the Court it is a good idea to complete and send, or preferably hand deliver, to the Court an Admission form straight away as the Claimant may not have already put in their request for judgment in default.
How do I complete the Admission?
When you complete the Admission form you will be required to provide details of your income and outgoings and you will have the opportunity to say when you will be able to pay. It may be that you will be able to make payment in full on a certain date, for example the date upon which you are paid by your employer. If you cannot pay before that date you should briefly explain why. Alternatively, it may be that you can only offer to pay by instalments.
For more information on:
- I want to pay by instalments. How much should I offer to pay?
- What if I don’t make an offer to pay?
- Where should I send the Admission?
- What if I can’t afford to pay anything?
- Can I make an offer to settle the claim for a lesser amount than the sum claimed?