We occasionally receive queries from clients who have contracted with individuals who were based in England or Wales, who have defaulted under an agreement and taken up residence in another UK jurisdiction such as Scotland. Their perception often is that such debtors are not worth pursuing due to expensive administrative work in serving documents outside of the jurisdiction or having to instruct solicitors based in the other jurisdiction.
The issues to consider are which country’s courts are the appropriate one to deal with the case and what enforcement options are available in the event of obtaining judgment.
If the claim is contested it would be more convenient to the claimant to have the matter tried at their local County Court hearing centre rather than having to travel to a different court in another region of the UK.
The rules are set out at Schedule 4 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982. The basic rule set out at paragraph 1 of this schedule is that persons domiciled in a part of the UK shall be sued in the courts of that part.
There are a number of exceptions and with regard to commercial agreements, paragraph 3 of this Schedule provides that in matters relating to a contract, a person may be sued in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question.
For example, a plumber may enter into a contract with a householder to install a heating system. The householder then moves back to his home in Scotland where he is domiciled and fails to pay the contract price. Under the provisions of the above Act in matters relating to a contract, the individual may be sued in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question, i.e., England and Wales.
Where a debtor resides in Scotland or Northern Ireland, permission to serve the claim form is granted simply at the time the draft claim form is submitted to the Court without the need for a formal application. Once served, the Defendant has 21 days in which to respond rather than the normal 14.
If no response is received, however, an application for a default judgment must be made which must be supported by way of an affidavit.
This is a service that Debt-Claims can provide.
After a CCJ is granted the next step is to apply to the local court in the other UK jurisdiction to register the judgment so that it can be enforced by that court.
Talk to Debt-Claims today to discuss your options.