Application to set aside a default judgment


This download explains the principles and procedures with examples of how to prepare a successful application to have a default judgment set aside.

Applications must be made as soon as you are notified that a judgment has been entered against you. Delay can be fatal. The court will be obliged to set aside the judgment if there have been procedural deficiencies or setting aside could be at the discretion of the judge.

If the court is satisfied that the claim was not served so that you were not aware of it so and able to enter a defence the judgment must be set aside. You are entitled as of right and the court must set the defective judgment aside. There are no time limits to apply. In most cases a judge will also give directions for the future conduct of the case.

In other cases a judge will have a discretion. You will need to show that you have a realistic defence and that there are real prospects of successfully defending the claim rather than some fanciful idea. Simply showing that you have an arguable defence may not be enough. The court will also wish to be satisfied that there was good reason why you did not enter a defence within the time allowed.

You should note also that a judgment will not automatically be set aside even if the claimant agrees and you have reached a settlement with him.