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Avoiding trial: how a summary judgment could simplify your late payment claim

For many businesses and individuals that are owed money by customers, the idea of going to trial to retrieve payment can seem like a daunting prospect. Increasingly, however, in those cases that do make it all the way to the court, matters can be settled without the need for lengthy proceedings.

At Lovetts, we find that our letter before action service (available for as little as £1.50 plus VAT) secures payment within 86% of our cases. Where stronger legal action does need to be sought, summary judgment is an alternative way of dealing with your claim on a summary basis without the need to go to trial.

This means that if you have a strong case and/or the Defence is particularly weak, you have the option to apply for summary judgment at an early stage in the proceedings without the need to wait for the matter to go to trial or incur the costs of all the steps required in reaching this stage.

An application for summary judgment can be made to the Court to request the summary disposal of your claim and judgment against your debtor. This application is required to be supported by a witness statement explaining the facts of the case and why it should be dealt with on a summary basis.

For an application for summary judgment to be successful, the Court must be persuaded that the Defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim and that there is no other compelling reason why the case should be disposed of at trial.

In certain instances therefore, it may make sense to opt for summary judgment. These judgments can often come sooner and usually at less cost than proceeding to trial. It also means that you do not need to provide witness evidence in person at Court – an at times daunting prospect that can deter many claimants from receiving what is rightfully theirs. The decision is simply made from the application and supporting documents.

If a summary judgment application is not granted then the matter will continue to proceed as a normal defended action and will then at that stage go to trial.

For those considering court proceedings, Lovetts dedicated Litigation Department can provide you with the right advice to make the best decision regarding your case. In many cases, depending on the strength of your claim, an application for summary judgment may be appropriate. 

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