Litigation Brief – An Overview of CPR Part 12: Default Judgment

July 3, 2024

By: tme

Ai Law Legal Services

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 12 addresses the rules surrounding default judgment, a mechanism by which a claimant can obtain judgment without a trial if the defendant fails to respond to a claim.

What is CPR Part 12?

CPR Part 12 sets out the conditions under which a default judgment can be obtained and the procedures for applying for such a judgment. Default judgment can be a powerful tool for claimants when a defendant does not engage with the litigation process.

Key Provisions of CPR Part 12

1. Conditions for Default Judgment (CPR 12.3)

CPR 12.3 specifies the conditions under which a claimant can apply for a default judgment:

  • Failure to Acknowledge Service or Defence: The defendant must have failed to file an acknowledgment of service or a defence within the prescribed time limits.
  • No Pending Application: There should be no pending application by the defendant to strike out the claim or for summary judgment.

2. Types of Claims Excluded (CPR 12.2)

CPR 12.2 outlines the types of claims where default judgment cannot be obtained, including:

  • Claims Against Minors or Protected Parties: Default judgment cannot be entered against individuals under a disability without the court’s permission.
  • Certain Specific Claims: Claims like possession of land, certain probate claims, and others listed under CPR 12.2 cannot proceed to default judgment without further court direction.

3. Procedure for Obtaining Default Judgment (CPR 12.4)

CPR 12.4 details the procedure for applying for a default judgment:

  • Request or Application: A claimant can either request a default judgment administratively in straightforward cases or apply to the court for a judgment in more complex matters.
  • Supporting Evidence: The claimant must provide evidence that the claim form was properly served and that the defendant has not responded within the time limits.

4. Setting Aside or Varying Default Judgment (CPR 13)

CPR Part 13 governs the process for setting aside or varying a default judgment:

  • Discretionary Setting Aside: The court has discretion to set aside or vary a default judgment if the defendant can show a real prospect of successfully defending the claim or if there is some other good reason for setting aside the judgment.
  • Mandatory Setting Aside: If the default judgment was entered in error, it must be set aside.

Importance of CPR Part 12

Encouraging Prompt Responses

CPR Part 12 encourages defendants to engage promptly with the litigation process, knowing that failure to respond can lead to a judgment being entered against them without a trial.

Streamlining the Judicial Process

By allowing claimants to obtain judgment without the need for a trial when defendants do not respond, CPR Part 12 helps streamline the judicial process and reduce court backlogs.

Protecting Claimants’ Rights

Default judgment ensures that claimants can obtain relief efficiently when defendants fail to meet procedural requirements, thus protecting claimants’ rights and interests.

Practical Implications for Claimants and Defendants

Understanding and complying with CPR Part 12 is essential for both claimants and defendants. Claimants need to know how to effectively obtain a default judgment, while defendants must understand the importance of timely responses to avoid default judgments.

Tips for Compliance

For Claimants:

  • Ensure Proper Service: Make sure the claim form is properly served on the defendant and keep evidence of service.
  • Monitor Deadlines: Keep track of the deadlines for the defendant to file an acknowledgment of service or a defence.
  • Prepare Supporting Evidence: Be ready to provide the necessary evidence to support your application for default judgment.

For Defendants:

  • Respond Promptly: File an acknowledgment of service or a defence within the prescribed time limits to avoid default judgment.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you are unable to meet the deadlines, seek legal advice immediately to explore options for extending time or responding appropriately.
  • Apply to Set Aside if Necessary: If a default judgment is entered against you, consider applying to set it aside promptly if you have grounds to do so.


CPR Part 12 is a crucial element of the civil litigation process, providing a mechanism for claimants to obtain judgment when defendants fail to respond.

Contact Ai Law today to learn more about how we can assist representing you in your dispute through expert legal support and comprehensive case management.

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