Litigation Brief – An Overview of CPR Part 13: Setting Aside or Varying Default Judgment

July 3, 2024

By: tme

Ai Law Legal Services

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 13 deals specifically with the procedures for setting aside or varying default judgments.

What is CPR Part 13?

CPR Part 13 sets out the rules and procedures for setting aside or varying a default judgment. A default judgment may be entered against a defendant who fails to respond to a claim within the prescribed time limits. Part 13 provides defendants with a mechanism to challenge and potentially overturn such judgments.

Key Provisions of CPR Part 13

1. Grounds for Setting Aside Default Judgment (CPR 13.3)

CPR 13.3 specifies the grounds on which a defendant can apply to set aside or vary a default judgment:

  • Real Prospect of Success: The defendant must demonstrate that they have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim.
  • Some Other Good Reason: There must be another compelling reason why the judgment should be set aside or varied, such as procedural errors or new evidence.

2. Mandatory Setting Aside (CPR 13.2)

CPR 13.2 outlines situations where the court must set aside a default judgment:

  • Incorrect Service: If the default judgment was entered despite improper service of the claim form.
  • Other Procedural Errors: If there were other procedural irregularities that invalidated the default judgment.

3. Discretionary Setting Aside (CPR 13.3)

CPR 13.3 allows the court to exercise its discretion to set aside or vary a default judgment based on the circumstances of the case:

  • Prompt Application: The defendant must act promptly in applying to set aside the judgment.
  • Meritorious Defence: The court will consider whether the defendant has a meritorious defence and any other relevant factors.

4. Procedure for Application (CPR 13.4)

CPR 13.4 details the procedure for applying to set aside or vary a default judgment:

  • Application Notice: The defendant must file an application notice with the court, supported by evidence.
  • Supporting Evidence: This evidence should include a draft defence and any other relevant documents to support the application.
  • Hearing: The court may set a hearing date to consider the application, allowing both parties to present their arguments.

Importance of CPR Part 13

Protecting Defendants’ Rights

CPR Part 13 ensures that defendants have an opportunity to challenge default judgments, protecting their rights and ensuring that justice is served fairly.

Ensuring Fairness in Litigation

This rule helps maintain fairness in the litigation process by allowing judgments to be reconsidered if there were procedural errors or if the defendant has a valid defence.

Encouraging Proper Procedure

CPR Part 13 encourages both claimants and defendants to adhere to proper procedural practices, promoting the efficient and just resolution of disputes.

Practical Implications for Defendants and Legal Professionals

Understanding and complying with CPR Part 13 is essential for defendants seeking to challenge default judgments and for legal professionals guiding their clients through this process.

Tips for Compliance

For Defendants:

  • Act Promptly: If a default judgment has been entered against you, act quickly to apply for it to be set aside or varied.
  • Prepare Thorough Evidence: Gather all necessary evidence to support your application, including a draft defence and any documents demonstrating procedural errors or new evidence.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with legal professionals to ensure that your application is well-founded and effectively presented.

For Claimants:

  • Monitor Procedural Compliance: Ensure that all procedural requirements are met when obtaining a default judgment to minimize the risk of it being set aside.
  • Be Prepared for Challenges: Be prepared to respond to applications to set aside default judgments, providing evidence to support the validity of the original judgment.


CPR Part 13 provides a crucial mechanism for defendants to challenge default judgments, ensuring fairness and justice in civil litigation.

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

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