Claimant (small claims)

In general, a small claim is one where the value of the claim is for £10,000 or less (£5,000 or less if the claim is for personal injuries). There is no lower limit.

Note: when calculating the value of your claim you should disregard any claim for interest or costs.

Making a claim is when you begin formal legal action against another party. You can make a claim after you have tried other methods to recover the money you believe is owed to you.

 

It may be in your best interest to try and settle a claim before beginning formal court action.

You may wish to try and settle your claim by writing to the defendant outlining your claim. If you do, you should keep a copy of your letter and allow them a week or so to reply.

If you do not receive a satisfactory reply it would be reasonable for you to write again, this time advising that you intend to start legal proceedings if your claim is not settled.

If you still do not receive a satisfactory response, you may wish to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or the issue of a small claim. Alternative dispute resolution is not meant to replace the courts, but it can have advantages over going to court, namely:

  • more flexible

  • quicker

  • less stressful

  • cheaper

The section alternative dispute resolution provides you with further information on alternatives to court.

How and where do I start my claim?

There are specific forms you will need to complete depending on the type of claim you wish to make. The forms are also available from the public counter.

What about help filling in the forms?

The HC1A Notes for claimant (PDF) will help you fill in the form. Each heading on the form has a separate note relating to it.

It is important that you read these guidance notes carefully before you start to complete the form. Court staff cannot provide you with advice.

What if I do not know the defendant's current, last or usual address?

If you do not know the current, last or usual address of the defendant you may be able to apply for an alternative method of service. You should apply to the court using form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF).

For further information on service by an alternative method please refer to Part 2, Chapter 7 of the rules.

The defendant lives outside the Isle of Man, can I still make a claim?

If the defendant is to be served outside the Isle of Man you must obtain the court’s permission. Use Form - HC8C - Application Notice (permission to serve outside of the jurisdiction) (Word doc) (PDF) to apply to the court for service outside of the Isle of Man.

Can the procedure I have chosen be changed by the courts?

Court staff will check the claim form to ensure that the correct procedure has been chosen. If the court staff are in any doubt they will refer the matter to a judge.

How does the judge decide if my case is a small claim?

When reaching a decision the judge will consider the following:

  • your views

  • the views of the defendant

  • the amount of the dispute – which should not exceed £10,000

  • the type of claim – these will usually be;

    • consumer claims (e.g. faulty goods or workmanship)

    • disputes over the ownership of goods

    • disputes between landlords and tenants regarding rent arrears, repairs etc.

  • the amount and type of preparation needed to be able to deal with the case justly (proportionality).

How will I know which procedure my claim has been changed to?

Before the forms are returned to you by the court, court staff will contact you to inform you of any change.

Can I ask for my claim to be dealt with in the small claims procedure if the amount in dispute is over £10,000?

Yes, if:

  • the defendant consents in writing

  • the judge is satisfied that the claim is straightforward enough for the small claims procedure.

Can I claim interest?

You can claim interest on the money the defendant owes you. If you wish to claim for interest you must include details of the basis in your Particulars of Claim, namely if it is:

  • under the terms of a contract

  • according to legislation, and if so which; or

  • on some other basis and, if so, what that basis is.

You must also state:

  • the percentage rate at which interest is claimed

  • the date from which it is claimed

  • the date to which it is calculated, which must not be later than the date on which the claim form is issued

  • the total amount of interest claimed to the date of calculation

  • the daily rate at which interest accrues after that date.

What will it cost and what if I can’t afford it?

You will have to pay to the court fee. Court staff will be able to tell you how much you have to pay. You can also find details in the Fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year.

What happens next?

When your claim is processed by the court, the appropriate number of copies of the processed claim form, together with any other documents you may have filed, will be left at the public counter for you to collect. Please allow 5 working days for the court to process the claim.

The copy claim forms will now have a claim number, a date of issue and the court seal on them.

It is your responsibility to file the correct number of copies of the claim with the court, and also to ensure the correct forms are served on the defendant(s) by the coroner.

For example if you file a claim for a specified amount of money against two defendants you should file at least:

  • 4 copies of the claim form (including the Particulars of Claim if filed with the Claim Form)

You will need to provide the coroner with the following documents for service on one defendant:

  • 1 copy of Form HC2A - Response Pack cover sheet (PDF)

  • 1 copy of the claim form (including the Particulars of Claim if filed with the claim form);

  • 2 copies of Form HC2B - Acknowledgement of Service (General) (Word doc) (PDF)

  • 1 copy of Form HC2C - Admission form (Specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF)

  • 1 copy of Form HC2E - Defence & Counterclaim form (Specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF)

  • 1 copy of Form HC1B - Notes for defendant (PDF)

Therefore you will need to provide the coroner with double the amount of copies for service on 2 defendants. Please ensure that that claim number is on all documents.

What happens if the coroner cannot serve the claim?

If the coroner is unable to serve the claim personally on the defendant he may serve it by post at the address given on the claim form. The coroner will complete a notice of service indicating the method of service and give you a copy which you must then file with the court as proof of service.

If service on the defendant wasn’t possible the coroner will return the papers to you and tell you why it wasn’t possible.

If the defendant’s copy of the claim form is returned to the court, the court will send you notification stating that the document has been returned.

What can the defendant do when the claim form is received?

The defendant can:

Please remember that this section of the website can only provide you with a general idea of what is likely to happen. The website cannot explain everything about court rules, costs and procedures which may affect different claims in different ways. Court staff can provide you with information, tell you about court forms and procedures, but they cannot give you legal advice or answer questions like "Will I win my case?", "What evidence do I need?" You should seek legal advice from an advocate. A list of Manx advocates is available through the Isle of Man Law Society.

Once formal legal action has started by the issuing of a claim, the defendant needs to be notified of the claim. Serving the claim is where the claim form you lodged with the court is either sent or given to the defendant by the coroner, and they are officially notified of the action that you are taking.

If you are unable to settle your dispute any other way, you may decide to issue your claim through the court.

You can issue claims for a variety of reasons, including:

  • where your property has been damaged (e.g. your car in a car accident)

  • where you loaned money to someone and they haven’t paid it back

  • where you are owed wages by an employer

  • where you have suffered personal injury

  • where you have purchased goods and they have not been supplied or they are faulty

  • where you have had work done and it has been faulty.

These are just some examples of the more common disputes and there may be situations not included in the list where you may issue a claim through the court.

Issuing a claim should always be your last resort. The court will expect you to have acted reasonably, such as exchanging information and documentation about the dispute and generally try to avoid the need to issue a claim.

There is little satisfaction to be gained from winning your case if the defendant has no money to pay you. Before issuing a claim it is important to consider whether the person, firm or company you are claiming from is likely to be able to pay.

If they are:

  • unemployed

  • bankrupt

  • have no money of their own

  • have no personal property or anything of value belonging to them (such as a car)

  • have ceased to trade

  • have other debts to pay

the court may not be able to help you get your money. You may, however, be able to get your money if you are prepared to accept small, regular payments (instalments) over a period of time.

It will cost you money to start a claim. Court staff will be able to tell you how much you have to pay. You can also find details in the fees section. Please note that the fee might increase each year.

The fee you pay is added to the amount you are claiming from the defendant. If you are successful with your claim, you may be entitled to get that money back from the defendant.

It doesn’t matter if the fee takes your total over the maximum claim amount for a particular procedure. The fee is regarded as ‘costs’, which is separate to the amount you are claiming is owed to you.

If the defendant (the person you are issuing the claim against) defends your claim, you may need witnesses to help to tell the court what happened. You may have to pay their travelling expenses and the money they would have earned that day. You may also need to obtain a report from a doctor, for example, and request that this expert come to court to give evidence. Again you will have to pay the expert’s expenses and charges.

These are known as costs.

If you are successful in the claim the court may order the defendant to pay towards those costs.

Whilst it is rare in the small claims procedure if you are unsuccessful in your claim the court may order you to pay towards the defendant's costs.

Many cases are not defended and the way in which claims for money (especially amounts of £10,000 or less) are dealt with is designed to allow you to do this yourself, with the need to attend at court only once or twice.

Remember, however, that if the claim is defended you will need to take time to prepare your case. For example, you will have to put together copies of all relevant documents or spend time getting statements from witnesses. You will probably be required to attend a court hearing and you may have to spend more time completing forms to enforce your judgment.

In straightforward cases the small claims procedure provides a simple and informal way of resolving disputes. You should be able to process your claim without the need for an advocate.

You have to prove your claim, so in more complex cases you will need to have some understanding of the legal basis of your claim and court procedures. You may, for example, need to provide expert’s reports and organise statements from witnesses who saw your accident. In any case it may save you a lot of money, time and effort if you gain some legal advice before you start your claim.

The advocate will be able to tell you:

  • if it is worth taking out a claim

  • if it is, how best to prepare for it

  • what evidence you may need

  • what amount of damages to ask for.

You may qualify for Legal Aid to meet some, or all, of your legal costs.

A list of Manx advocates is available through the Isle of Man Law Society.

What should I do

This section will help you if the person you are claiming against (the defendant) does not reply to your claim. What to do depends on whether your claim is for:

  • a fixed sum of money (a specified amount); or

  • an amount which is not fixed (an unspecified amount).

An unspecified amount of money is one which is not precise. If, for example, you are claiming damages (compensation) for loss or injury, you might not be in a position to work out exactly what those damages are. You might, however, believe that the amount of damages you are likely to recover will not exceed a figure within the small claims limit. This would be a claim for an unspecified amount.

Please remember court staff are not advocates and are not able to provide you with advice.

The defendant has not replied to my claim for a specified amount of money, what do I do?

If the coroner served your particulars of claim in, or with, the claim form, a notice of service will be given or sent to you. The notice of service shows the date the claim was served on the defendant.

If the claim was sent by post, the date of service is taken as the second day after posting (see postmark for posting date). If the claim form was delivered or left at the defendant's address, the date of service will be the day after it was delivered.

The defendant then has 14 days to reply. You must wait until after this date before you can take any action.

If the defendant does not reply to your claim, you can ask the court to enter judgment. That is, make an order that the defendant pay you the amount you have claimed because no reply has been received.

You should do this as soon as possible after the 14 days have passed. Until the court receives your request to enter judgment, the defendant can still reply to your claim. If the court receives the defendant’s reply before your request is processed, that reply will have priority even though it has been filed late. 

How does the defendant pay?

Before you fill out the form asking the court to enter judgment (HC7A - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF)) you must decide how you want the defendant to pay the amount owing. You may want the amount to be paid immediately, however you may wish to consider if you will be more likely to get the money if you allow the defendant to pay by instalments over a period of time. This will depend on the defendant’s circumstances.

Once you have decided how you would like to be paid, complete the request form (there are guidance notes on the form to help you) and send or take it to the court. A copy of the notice of service or certificate of service must accompany your form or the application will not be processed until it has been filed. 

What will the court do with my request for judgment?

The court will use the information on your request to make and issue a judgment. If you have requested execution to issue at the same time then the court will issue judgment and execution.

The judgment will tell the defendant:

  • what the judgment (& execution) is for
  • how much to pay
  • when to pay it.

The court will then send a copy of the judgment to you and to the defendant. Where judgment and execution is issued, the original of the judgment and execution will be placed at the court office Public Counter for collection by you. You should then give the judgment and execution to the coroner of your sheading (area), who will attempt to recover the amount of the judgment for you. There may be a fee for this. A judgment payable by instalments is not enforceable by a coroner; it is a matter between you and the defendant.

The judgment will be recorded on the Register of Judgments. For more information please refer to the section registered judgements - what does it mean?

You may view the Register of Judgments at the Court office/public counter.

Please note if you do not request judgment within six months of the end of the period for filing a defence, your claim will be ‘stayed’ (stopped or halted) and the only action you could take would be to apply to a judge for an order lifting the stay. 

What do I do if my claim was for an unspecified sum and the defendant has not replied?

If your claim was for an unspecified amount, complete form HC7B – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF). Use this form to ask the court to enter a judgment against the defendant for an amount to be decided by the court and costs.

When your request is received by the courts the court file will be referred to a judge.

The judge will decide:

  • whether a court hearing is necessary
  • what you need to do to help the judge make a decision as to the amount of money you are entitled to, for example what evidence you should provide.

This is called giving ‘directions’. Once the judge has made a decision, you and the defendant will be sent an order. This order will say that you are entitled to judgment on liability and will set out any other directions the judge has given. 

What will happen at the directions hearing?

If the judge did not give directions and listed the matter for a directions hearing you will receive a notice of what date and time the hearing is to take place. All parties are expected to attend.

At the hearing the judge will give directions for trial which may include the filing of witness statements, expert’s reports etc. These documents are for the assistance of the court in coming to a decision about the case.

A date for the final hearing will also be set at the directions hearing so you should be aware of your future availability to attend any further hearings.

For further information on coming to court please refer to section:

 I am coming to a Court hearing, what do I need to know? 

What if the defendant does not pay?

If the defendant does not pay, it is up to you to ask the court to take further action, called ‘enforcing the judgment’.

There are different ways you can try to enforce the judgment, namely:

How do I apply for execution

 

How do I apply for an attachment of earnings order?

 

How do I ask for an arrestment order?

 

How do I apply for a charging order?

 

How do I ask the court to appoint a Receiver?

This section will tell you what will happen if you are claiming a specified amount (a fixed sum of money) and the person you are claiming against (the defendant) admits that all the money is owed. 

How will I know if the defendant admits my claim?

The defendant will fill in form HC2C - Admission Form (Word doc) (PDF) and send it to you. The date by which this should be done is fourteen days after the date of service (shown on the coroner's notice of service or the certificate of service HC10 – Certificate of Service (Word doc) (PDF).

As well as admitting that the money is owed the defendant can also ask for time to pay, either by instalments or at some future date. Before you do anything, you must first decide if the rate and time of payment offered by the defendant are acceptable to you. 

What do I do if I accept the defendant's offer of payment?

You can ask the court to enter judgment (called ‘entering judgment on admission’). This means that you are asking the court to make an order that the defendant pays you the amount of your claim and the costs of issuing it in the terms offered by the defendant.

To make the request you should fill in form HC7A – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) and send or take it to the court. You do not have to pay a fee for this.

If the defendant admits your claim but does not make any offer of payment, you must decide how you want the money to be paid. Think carefully about this. Although you may feel that you would like all the money paid at once, you might be more likely to get paid if it is paid by instalments over a period of time. 

What do I do if I accept the admission but I do not accept the rate and time of payment offered by the defendant?

Complete form HC7A – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF). Indicate that you accept the admission and state why you object to the rate and the time of payment offered by the defendant. You should also indicate the rate and time of payment that you believe is reasonable.

Take or send the completed form to the Court Office with a copy of the defendant’s admission form. It is a good idea to keep a copy of both forms for yourself. 

What will the court do with my completed form?

Judgment will be entered for the amount admitted and accepted and the court officer will consider the details given in the defendant’s admission form as well as your objections and make an assessment of what would be reasonable for the defendant to pay.

You and the defendant will be sent an order. The order will tell the defendant that the order was made after consideration to explain why it might be different from the original offer. It will also tell the defendant how much to pay, when to pay it and the address to which payments should be paid.

You should note that if the defendant does not pay after receiving the order, the court will not take any steps to obtain payment unless you ask it to. This is called ‘enforcing your judgment’. You will have to choose the method of enforcement and pay a fee; the court will tell you how much this is. 

Do I have to accept the court officer’s decision?

No. You, or the defendant, can object to the rate of payment set by the court officer. You must do this within fourteen days of receiving the order. You should apply to the court saying why you object to the rate of payment determined by the court officer. You should send a copy of your application to the defendant. A judge will decide what would be a reasonable way for the defendant to pay.

The judge can decide to deal with your objections with or without a hearing. If there is to be a hearing the court will send you a notice setting out the date, time and place the hearing will be held. If there is a hearing and you do not attend, the judge may still make an order.

After the hearing, or after the judge has made a decision on the papers without a hearing, the court will send you an order setting out the judge’s decision. If the judge varies the previous order you and the defendant will receive a copy of the new order (after re-determination).

This section will tell you what will happen if you are claiming an unspecified amount (an amount of money which is not a fixed amount), and the person you are claiming against (the defendant) admits that all the money is owed. 

How will I know if the defendant admits my claim?

The defendant will fill in form HC2D — Admission Form (Word doc) (PDF) and send it to you. This is called ‘admitting liability’ (admitting responsibility) for payment.

The date by which this should be done is 14 days after the date of service (shown on the coroner's notice of service or the HC10 - Certificate of Service (Word doc) (PDF). The court will send you a copy of the admission form. The defendant may:

  • admit liability for your claim without saying how much is admitted
  • admit liability for your claim and offer a sum of money in satisfaction
  • admit liability for your claim, offer a sum of money in satisfaction and ask to pay that sum by instalments or at a future date. 

When do I have to reply to the admission?

If the defendant admits liability without saying how much is admitted, you should file a HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) within 14 days of receiving the admission. If you do not file the request, the claim will be stayed (suspended) until you do.

If the defendant admits liability and offers a sum of money in satisfaction of the claim, you have fourteen days after the service of the admission to file and serve on the defendant a notice stating whether or not you accept the amount of money offered. If you do not file this notice the claim will be stayed (suspended) until you do. 

What should I do if the defendant has admitted liability for my claim without saying how much is admitted?

You should complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) asking the court to make an order that the defendant pay you an amount of money that the court will decide. 

How will the court decide how much the defendant should pay?

When the court receives your form HC7C - Request for a Judgment the court file will be referred to a judge. The judge will decide:

  • whether a court hearing is necessary

  • what you need to do to help the judge make a decision as to the amount of money you are entitled to, for example, what evidence you should provide.

This is called giving “directions”. Once the judge has made a decision, you and the defendant will be sent an order. This will say that you are entitled to judgment on liability and will set out the directions the judge has given.

The judge may give directions either:

  • allocating your claim to the small claims procedure

  • directing that your claim is given a ‘preliminary’ hearing. 

What will happen at a preliminary hearing?

If your case is listed for a preliminary hearing, you will find it useful to read the section:

I am coming to a court hearing, what do I need to know?

 At the preliminary hearing the judge may either:

  • give more detailed directions about, e.g. the documents and other evidence needed for the judge to make a final decision about the amount

  • decide the amount the defendant has to pay, if it is a simple case which does not need a lengthy hearing.

What will happen in your claim will depend upon:

  • the likely amount of the damages

  • whether the defendant is likely to dispute that amount

  • whether the judge feels there is enough proof in the papers available at the hearing to make his final decision. 

What will happen after the preliminary hearing?

Courts staff will set out what the judge decided in an order. Copies will be sent to you and the defendant. 

What happens if the defendant admits my claim and offers a sum of money to settle it?

You must decide whether you are prepared to accept the amount offered by the defendant. If you do, you should complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) and send or take it to the court by the date shown on it.

If you do not accept the amount offered by the defendant, you should complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) and return it to the court. The court will enter judgment on liability and a judge will decide what happens next. Both you and the defendant will be sent a copy of the court’s order, which will include a date for a directions hearing. 

What happens if the defendant admits my claim, offers a sum of money to settle it, but asks to pay the amount by instalments or at a future date?

If you accept the amount offered and the rate of payment suggested, complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) and return it to the court. The court will prepare a judgment (judgment for claimant) for the defendant to pay at the rate suggested. A copy of the order will be sent to both you and the defendant.

If you do not accept the amount offered and the rate of payment, complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) stating your reasons and return it to the court. 

What happens if I accept the amount offered but object to the defendant’s suggested rate of payment?

If you object to the rate of payment, you can ask that a court officer decide what would be a reasonable rate.

Complete form HC7C - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF). You must state why you object to the rate and the time of payment offered by the defendant.

Take or send the completed form to the Court Office with a copy of the defendant’s admission form. It is a good idea to keep a copy of both forms for yourself.

A member of the court staff will consider the details given in the defendant’s admission form and your objections and make an assessment of what would be reasonable for the defendant to pay.

You and the defendant will be sent an order. The order will tell the defendant that the order was made after the court officer has made a decision to explain why it might be different from the original offer. It will also tell the defendant:

  • how much to pay

  • when to pay it

  • the address to which payments should be sent. 

Can I object to the rate of payment fixed by the court officer?

Yes. You, or the defendant, can object to the rate of payment set by the court officer. You must do this within 14 days of receiving the order. You should apply to the court saying why you object to the rate of payment decided by the court officer. You should send a copy of your application to the defendant. A judge will decide what would be a reasonable way for the defendant to pay. The judge can decide to deal with your objections with or without a hearing. If there is to be a hearing the court will send you a notice setting out the time, date and place the hearing will be held.

If there is a hearing and you do not attend, the judge may still make an order. After the hearing, or after the judge has made a decision on the papers without a hearing, the court will send you an order setting out the judge’s decision. If the judge varies the previous order you and the defendant will receive a copy of the new order (after the new decision).

This section will tell you what to do if the person you are claiming against (the defendant) disputes all or part of your claim. It also explains what will happen if the defendant says that the money has already been paid. 

What happens if the defendant wants to defend all of my claim?

Within 14 days of being served with (receiving) particulars of your claim, the defendant must send to the court either:

  • an acknowledgment of service

  • a defence. 

Why would the defendant file an acknowledgment of service instead of a defence?

Filing a form HC2B - Acknowledgment of Service (Word doc) (PDF) gives the defendant extra time in which to prepare a defence. The time for filing a defence is increased from 14 days to 28 days from the date of service of your particulars of claim.

If the defendant files an acknowledgement of service, but then fails to file a defence within the time allowed, you can ask the court to enter judgment in default. This means asking the court to make an order that the defendant pay you the money and costs you are claiming.

See also:

No reply to my claim form – what should I do?

How will I know an acknowledgment of service has been filed?

When the court receives the acknowledgment of service you will be sent a copy. It will tell you:

  • the date it was received by the court

  • whether the defendant intends to defend all or part of your claim

  • the name and address of the defendant’s advocate (if the advocate files the acknowledgment of service on the defendant’s behalf)

  • any change in the defendant’s name and address which is mentioned in the acknowledgment

  • whether the defendant intends to dispute the court’s jurisdiction. 

What happens if the defendant defends all of my claim?

If your claim is for a specified amount (a fixed sum of money), the defendant will fill in the defence & counterclaim form HC2E – Defence & Counterclaim (specified) (Word doc) (PDF) and file it with the court. If your claim is for an unspecified amount (not a fixed amount of money), the defendant will use the defence & counterclaim form HC2F – Defence & Counterclaim (unspecified) (Word doc) (PDF) .

The defendant may also use these forms to make a claim against you, that is, say that you owe money to the defendant. This is called ‘making a counterclaim’. 

How will I know when a defence has been filed?

The defendant must file his defence with the court within 14 or 28 days of the particulars of claim, dependant upon whether the defendant filed an acknowledgment of service or not and must serve a copy of the defence on you at the same time.

If you are claiming against more than one defendant, it is up to each defendant to file their defence within the set time. 

What happens if the defendant’s defence is that the money has already been paid?

Within 28 days of the defence being filed and served on you, which includes a notice asking you to state your position in writing, you must file a response to the defendant’s notice stating whether you wish the proceedings to continue or not. 

What does the defendant do when only part of my claim is defended?

In a claim for a specified amount, the defendant will complete forms HC2C - Admission (specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF) and HC2E - Defence & Counterclaim (specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF).

In a claim for an unspecified amount, the defendant will complete forms HC2D - Admission (other than specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF) offering an amount in satisfaction of the claim and HC2F - Defence & Counterclaim (other than specified amount) (Word doc) (PDF).

The defendant will file a copy of each with the court and send or take a copy of each to you. 

What happens now?

If the defendant is defending only part of the claim then he must be admitting part of the claim. Within 14 days of receiving the admission you must file and serve a notice stating whether you accept or decline the admission in satisfaction of the claim or wish the proceedings to continue as a defended claim. If you do not file a notice within 14 days your claim will be marked ‘stayed’ until you do file one. 

What do I do if I accept the defendant’s part admission?

If you accept the amount admitted in satisfaction of the claim you can ask the court to enter judgment (called ‘entering judgment on admission’). This means that you are asking the court to make an order that the defendant pays you the amount of your claim and the costs of issuing it in the terms offered by the defendant.

To make the request:

  • in a specified amount claim you should fill in form HC7A – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF)

  • in an unspecified amount claim you should fill in form HC7C – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) and send or take it to the court.

You do not have to pay a fee for this. 

What if I have accepted the amount offered by the defendant but the defendant wishes to pay by instalments, or at a future date? (specified amount claims only)

You should think carefully about how you want the money to be paid. Although you may feel that you would like all the money paid at once, you might be more likely to get paid if it is paid either at a future date, or by instalments over a period of time.

For either scenario, including whether you accept or decline the rate of payment offered by the defendant for instalment payments, you should fill in form HC7A – Request for Judgment (Word doc) (PDF).

If you decline the rate of payment for instalments you should set out why you object and complete the form showing how you wish the defendant to pay.

Take or send the completed form to the Court Office with a copy of the defendant’s admission form. It is a good idea to keep a copy of both forms for yourself.

A court officer will consider the details given in the defendant’s admission form and your objections, if any and make an decision of what would be reasonable for the defendant to pay.

You and the defendant will be sent an order. The order will tell the defendant that the order was made after being considered by the court officer to explain why it might be different from the original offer. It will also tell the defendant how much to pay, to whom, where and when. 

Do I have to accept the court officer’s decision?

No. You, or the defendant, can object to the rate of payment set by the court officer. You must do this within 14 days of receiving the order. You should apply to the court saying why you object to the rate of payment determined by the court officer. You should send a copy of your application to the defendant.

A judge will decide what would be a reasonable way for the defendant to pay. You will not have to pay a fee for this.

The judge can decide to deal with your objections with or without a hearing. If there is to be a hearing the court will send you a notice setting out the time, date and place the hearing will be held. If there is a hearing and you do not attend, the judge may still make an order.

After the hearing, or after the judge has made a decision on the papers without a hearing, the court will send you an order setting out the judge’s decision. If the judge varies the previous order you and the defendant will receive a copy of the new order (after his decision). 

What do I do if I do not accept the defendant's part admission?

If you have filed a notice within 14 days of the admission stating you decline the part admission, you must indicate that you wish the claim to proceed, in which case it will proceed as a defended claim.

The file will be passed to the judge who will then set a directions hearing. You and the defendant will be notified of the date set.

This section will provide you with information regarding coming to court for a court hearing. 

What if the hearing date is inconvenient?

You must first establish if the other party is agreeable to finding a more acceptable date. If you do gain agreement you should then contact the courts who will bring it to the attention of the judge who may then set a new date.

If the defendant isn’t agreeable to a new date, again contact courts administration staff who will arrange with the judge to set a short appointment for parties to attend simply for the purpose of trying to set a mutually convenient date. 

I want to ask a question about my case, what can I do?

If you need to ask a question relating to your case, you can:

  • call into the public counter at the courts and speak with a member of staff. For convenience, court opening times are detailed on the public counter page

  • telephone the court any week day

  • write to the court

  • if the matter is urgent, send a fax to the court.

See the 'Contacts' section for more details.

Always tell the court your claim number and the date of your hearing if you have one.

Courts staff can provide you with information, tell you about court forms and procedures, but they cannot give you legal advice. 

What other help is available?

If you have a disability which makes going to court or communicating difficult, the courts may be able to help you. Contact reception on +44 (0) 1624 685265 

Will I need witnesses at the hearing?

Yes, if the hearing is a final hearing and the judge has said they can give their evidence orally. Witnesses are generally not needed at a hearing where the court is:

  • deciding what must be done to prepare your case for a final hearing (for example a directions hearing)

  • considering any other application you or the other party have made, unless this is at a final hearing. 

What should I do to prepare for the hearing?

1. Make sure you and your witnesses, if you have any, know:

  • the time and date of the hearing

  • which court the hearing is in

  • how to get there.

2. If the hearing is the final hearing (the trial), make sure you have done everything the court said you must do to prepare for the case. In particular, you should make sure you have sent the documents you were told to send to the court (see paragraph 3).

3. The court may give a direction for you to file a bundle of documents for use at the trial. However if not you must file a trial bundle as set out below. The bundle must be filed with the court not more than 10 days before the trial and not less than 7 days before the trial. It must be indexed, paginated continuously throughout, in one or more lever-arch files and contain a copy of each of the following documents:

  • the claim form and all statements of case;

  • a case summary and, if appropriate, a chronology

  • requests for further information and responses to the requests

  • all witness statements to be relied on as evidence

  • any witness summaries

  • any notices of intention to rely on hearsay evidence under rule 8.24

  • any notices of intention to rely on evidence (such as a plan, photograph etc.) under rule 8.28 which is not:

    • contained in a witness statement, affidavit or expert’s report

    • to be given orally at the trial

    • hearsay evidence under rule 8.24.

  • any medical reports and responses to them

  • any experts’ reports and responses to them

  • any order giving directions as to the conduct of the trial

  • any document required to be included by a direction or court order

  • any other necessary documents.

4. Ensure you have a copy of the trial bundle for your own use at the hearing together with a copy for the witness(es).

5. Make a note of what you say so you do not forget anything. 

What do I do on the day of the hearing?

You should arrive in good time for the hearing. Your hearing will not start before the time you have been given. While every effort will be made to keep to the time of your hearing, this is not always possible and you may have to wait.

Make sure arrangements you have made, for example for child care, take account of the possibility that you may have to wait.

On arrival you should report to the reception desk. A note will be taken that you have arrived and you will be told what courtroom your case will be in and where to wait.

If you need to leave the courts building, tell the usher or another person involved where you can be found. 

Where will my hearing take place?

The hearing may take place in any of the courtrooms, which have equipment to record the proceedings.

The judge decides if the hearing will be held either:

  • in public – members of the public are allowed to be present at the hearing if there is sufficient room

  • in private – generally, only the people involved in the case (called the parties), their witnesses and advocates can be present at the hearing. 

What do I call the judge?

You should address the First Deemster and the Second Deemster and any other Deemster as "Your Honour".

You should address a Judicial Officer as “Sir” or "Ma'am".

What happens at the hearing?

The judge will normally want to hear first from the claimant (the person who started the case, or made the application) then the defendant (the person disputing it).

Seeing a person give evidence helps the judge decide whether that person is telling the truth.

You (and any witnesses) will normally be asked to swear (take an oath) that what is said or used to prove your case is true. If you do not wish to take an oath you can promise (affirm).

When you swear an oath or make an affirmation you are making a legally binding commitment. 

Can I take someone to the hearing with me?

You can take someone with you to keep you company while you wait at the court. Whether that person can go into the court hearing with you depends on where the hearing is being held and the type of hearing.

  • If the case is being held in public, your companion will be able to sit in the courtroom with you but they will not be able to speak to the judge on your behalf.

  • If the hearing is in private, anyone accompanying you will, usually, have to wait outside. 

When will the judge make a decision?

The judge will normally tell you what decision has been reached when all the evidence has been given. A written copy of the decision (an ‘order’) will be sent to you after the hearing. The order will not set out the reasons for the decision. The judge may tell you to do something, such as pay money to the other party or begin preparing your evidence for trial, as part of the decision.

You should carry out the instructions when you are told to do so and not wait until the written order arrives.

If the judge needs more time to reach a decision you will be sent a notice telling you the time, date and place the decision will be given. This is called ‘reserving judgment’. 

Can I object to the judge’s order, can I appeal?

If you disagree with the judge’s order you may be able to ‘appeal’ against it. This means that a more senior judge will look at your case and decide if the original decision was right.

You must act quickly if you want to appeal.

An appeal must be made within strict time limits which start on the day the judge makes a decision, or shortly afterwards. The time you have will depend on the type of order you are appealing against. You may have to pay a fee and court staff will be able to tell you what the fee is. You can also find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year.

You must have proper reasons (grounds) for making an appeal. The notes you made at the hearing will help those advising you to decide if you do have grounds for an appeal.

It is not advisable to take this step without getting some advice from an advocate. If you lose your appeal you will probably have to pay the other party’s costs.

For further information on appeals see:

My claim was unsuccessful, what can I do? 

What will happen after the hearing?

Court staff will send you and the defendant an order confirming the judge’s decision.

This section will help you decide what to do if the court has decided that someone must pay you an amount of money and you have not received a payment. 

How can I get my money after judgment?

You can try and get your money (called ‘enforcing your judgment’) by asking the court for any of the following:

  • execution

  • the appointment of a Receiver

  • an arrestment order

  • an attachment of earnings order

  • a charging order.

You may use any method of enforcement and you can use more than one method either at the same time or one after the other. However before you decide how to continue you should consider whether:

  • you are likely to get your money and court fee from the defendant

  • the defendant owes other people money or has other court judgments

  • the defendant owns any goods or assets which can be taken and sold at auction

  • the defendant is working

  • the defendant has other earnings, such as income from investments

  • the defendant has a bank, building society or other account

  • the defendant owns property (a house)

  • anyone else owes the defendant money.

Please note that it is the coroner that will deal with enforcement of the judgment on your behalf. 

How do I find out if the defendant has any other judgments?

You may view the Register of Judgments at the Court Office/public counter to check if the defendant has any outstanding or previous judgments.

You can also search Trust Online. Trust Online is a statutory public register run on behalf of the Ministry of Justice by Registry Trust Ltd, access to which is open to all. Registry Trust keeps separate public registers for money judgments in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Isle of Man. 

What is execution?

Execution is an enforceable order giving authority for the money to be claimed. Execution enables a judgment given in favour of a party, usually the claimant, to be enforced by that party and therefore gives the coroner the power to visit the defendants home or business to:

  • collect the money you are owed or

  • see whether the defendant has goods or land to the value of the money owed to you.

If the defendant does not have the money the coroner will look at his belongings and decide whether he has anything that can be sold at an auction to clear the debt.

See also: How do I apply for execution?

What is the appointment of a Receiver?

The Receiver is a neutral person (often a professional trustee) appointed by a judge to take charge of the property of the judgment debtor and realise assets and available monies so realised to satisfy payment of the judgment debt.

See also: How do I appoint a Receiver?

What is an attachment of earnings order?

An attachment of earnings order is sent to the defendant’s employer. It tells the employer to take an amount from the defendant’s earnings each pay day and send it to the coroner of your sheading (area). The money is then sent to you.

The defendant must be employed by someone before you can issue an attachment of earnings order. An order cannot be made if the defendant is unemployed or self-employed. Also the court may not be able to make an order, or may only make an order to pay it back in small instalments, if the defendant’s living expenses are greater than what is earned.

See also: How do I apply for an attachment of earnings order?

What is an arrestment order?

An arrestment order is issued by the court, upon application by you, the judgment creditor, or the coroner of the relevant sheading with your consent, against a third party, e.g. a bank, to seize money in their keeping. The order will require the third party to pay to you:-

  • the amount of any debt due or accruing due to the judgment debtor from the third party

  • so much of that debt as is sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt and your costs of the application.

See also: How do I ask for an arrestment order?

What is a charging order?

A charging order is an order of the court placing a ‘charge’ over or against the defendant’s interest in an asset such as stocks and shares or an interest under a trust. The order gives the judgment creditor rights similar to those of a mortgagee over the asset. A charge on an asset means that, if the asset is sold, the amount of the charge must be paid out of the proceeds of sale. Also, you can apply to the court for an order that the asset be sold, or for an order enabling the amount of the charge to be paid out of any income from the asset. A charging order does NOT force an asset to be sold.

See also: How do I apply for a charging order?

Which method should I choose?

As you can see, each way of enforcing your judgment is aimed at a different aspect of the defendant’s assets. That is:

  • goods owned (execution)

  • wages or salary (attachment of earnings order)

  • monies in a bank (arrestment order)

  • gaining a right over certain assets of the defendant (charging order)

Choose the method that is most likely to get you your money. If the defendant is unemployed or self-employed, you would be wasting your time with an attachment of earnings order, but if the defendant has money in a bank account an arrestment order might be suitable.

The court staff will NOT be able to tell you which method of enforcement to choose. It is up to you to decide which method is the most likely to get you your money. If you have questions regarding enforcing your judgment it is recommended you seek legal advice. 

What can I do if I have no information about the defendant’s finances?

If the defendant admitted the claim and made an offer to pay before the judgment was made, you will already know a little about the defendant’s financial situation. You may be able to find out more by asking the coroner of the area where you live to apply for an order from the court for the defendant to attend before him to provide him with information about the defendant’s financial situation. You should contact your local coroner’s office for further information.

This section will provide you with information on how and when to obtain execution and whether it is the best course of action for you to take. You should also read sections:

No reply to my claim, what should I do?

I have a judgment but the defendant has not paid

What is execution?

Execution is an enforceable order giving authority for the money to be claimed. Execution enables a judgment given in favour of a party, usually the claimant, to be enforced by that party and therefore gives the coroner the power to visit the defendants home or business to:

  • collect the money you are owed or

  • see whether the defendant has goods or land to the value of the money owed to you.

If the defendant does not have the money, the coroner will look at his belongings and decide whether he has anything that can be sold at an auction to clear the debt. 

When can I apply for execution?

You can ask the court for execution in the following ways:

Default Judgment

In a claim for a specified amount of money, if the defendant does not reply to your claim and you wish to request judgment, you can tick the box within form HC7A - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) to request that execution issues at the same time as judgment. If you do not tick the box for execution to issue and judgment is entered without execution, you will have to apply at a later stage using form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF).

Judgment on Admission

In a claim for a specified amount of money, if the defendant files a whole or part admission and you accept the admission and you wish to request judgment, you can tick the box within form HC7A - Request for a Judgment (Word doc) (PDF) to request that execution issues at the same time as judgment. However, it is not possible to have execution of an amount if an instalment order is requested. If you do not tick the box for execution to issue and judgment is entered without execution, you will have to apply at a later stage using form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF).

General application for execution after judgment

A request for execution can be made at any time after judgment, whether the judgment was given in a specified or unspecified amount claim. An amount of judgment will had to have been made by the court before execution can be applied for in an unspecified amount claim. You should use form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF).

This section will give you some very general information to help you decide whether an attachment of earnings order is the best course of action you should take. You should refer to the Rules (Part 12, Chapter 3, 12.47) for details of attachment of earnings orders which are used to enforce pre existing instalment or maintenance orders. You should also read the section:

I have a judgment but the defendant has not paid

An attachment of earnings order will only help you if the defendant is employed. 

What should I do?

Before you decide to go ahead, you need to consider whether you are likely to get back the money owed to you and the court fee from the defendant.

Remember the court cannot guarantee that you will get your money back. 

What do I need to ask for an attachment of earnings order?

To ask the court for an attachment of earnings order you, or the Coroner with your consent, should use form HC24 - Application for Attachment of Earnings Order (Word doc) (PDF). 

Will I have to pay a fee?

Court staff will be able to tell you how much you have to pay. You can also find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year. 

What happens next?

A date will be set for a hearing for consideration of the application. You and the defendant will receive notification of the hearing date. The court officer may tell the defendant to fill in a form giving information about his/her employment income and outgoings (this form is called a “statement of means”). 

What does the court do with the statement of means?

The court will look at the information given on the defendant’s statement of means and decide how much the defendant can afford to pay. The judge will take into account how much the defendant needs to live on for food, rent or mortgage and essentials and to pay regular bills such as gas and electricity.

If the defendant is on a low wage it may not be possible to make an attachment of earnings order.

The order will be sent to the defendant’s employer stating:

  • how much to take

  • when to take it

  • who to pay it to.

You will be sent a copy of the order. 

What happens after the attachment of earnings order has been made?

After the order is made, the coroner will send you any money that has been received from the defendant’s employer. The coroner will send you this money every week or every month, depending on how the defendant is paid and how the employer takes the money from the defendant’s earnings. 

What happens if the defendant becomes unemployed?

If the defendant becomes unemployed after an order has been made, the order will stop. If you think that the defendant then finds new work, you can use form HC8A – Application Notice (Word doc) (PDF) to ask the court to revive the attachment of earnings order and send it to the new employer.

This section provides very general information for judgment creditors seeking to recover money by way of a charging order. You should refer to the Rules (Part 12, Chapter 5) for full information on charging orders. You should also read the section:

I have a judgment but the defendant has not paid 

What is a charging order?

A charging order is an order of the court placing a ‘charge’ over or against the defendant’s interest in an asset such as stocks and shares or an interest under a trust. The order gives the judgment creditor rights similar to those of a mortgagee over the asset. 

How does it work?

A charge on an asset means that, if the asset is sold, the amount of the charge must be paid out of the proceeds of sale. A charging order does NOT force an asset to be sold. Afterwards, you can apply to the court for an order that the asset be sold, or for an order enabling the amount of the charge to be paid out of any income from the asset. 

When can I apply for a charging order?

You can ask the court for a charging order at any time after you have obtained judgment. 

How do I apply for a charging order?

You must complete form HC21 – Application for Charging Order (Word doc) (PDF). 

Will I have to pay a fee?

You may have to pay a court fee. Court staff will be able to tell you how much you have to pay. You can also find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year. 

What will the court do with my application for a charging order?

Court staff will refer your application to a judge. The judge may make an interim charging order if satisfied with the information you have provided. The interim charging order, the application notice and any other documents filed in support of the application will be sent to you.

The interim charging order will include the date and the time of a hearing at which the judge will decide whether or not to make a final charging order. 

What should I do when I receive the interim charging order?

You should arrange that the interim charging order, the application notice and any other documents filed in support of it, not less than 21 days before the hearing, are served on the following persons:

  • the judgment debtor

  • any other creditors that the court directs

  • if the order relates to interest under a trust, on such of the trustees as the court directs

  • if the interest charged is in securities other than securities held in court then:

    • the Treasury, in the case of government stock

    • in the case of stock of any body incorporated in the Island, that body

    • in the case of stock of any body incorporated outside the Island, which is registered in a register kept in the Island, the keeper of the register

    • in the case of units in a unit trust for which a register of the unit holders is kept in the Island, the keeper of that register

You must either:

  • file a certificate of service not less than 2 days before the hearing

  • produce a certificate of service at the hearing. 

What happens if the judgment debtor objects to the making of a final charging order?

If the judgment debtor, or any person served with the interim charging order, objects to the court making a final charging order, he/she must file written evidence stating the grounds of the objection not less than 7 days before the hearing. 

What will happen at the hearing?

The judge will consider your application, all evidence and whether any objections have been made. The judge may then:

  • make a final charging order confirming the charge shall continue with or without modification
  • discharge the interim charging order and dismiss the application1
  • deal with any issues in dispute between the parties
  • give directions for a trial (directions tell you what you must do to prepare for that trial).
1If the application is dismissed you will not be able to recover the fee you paid to issue it and you may have to pay the costs of the party who raised the objection.

This section provides very general information for judgment creditors seeking to recover money by way of an arrestment order. You should refer to the Rules (Part 12, Chapter 4) for detailed information on arrestment order. You should also read the section:

I have a judgment but the defendant has not paid

What is an arrestment order?

An arrestment order is issued by the court, upon application by the you, the judgment creditor, or the coroner of the relevant sheading with your consent, against a third party, e.g. a bank, to seize money in their keeping. The order will require the third party to pay to you:

  • the amount of any debt due or accruing due to the judgment debtor from the third party

  • so much of that debt as is sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt and your costs of the application. 

When can I apply for an arrestment order?

You can apply for an arrestment order any time after you have obtained judgment.

The judge who considers the application will not make an order unless the judgment debtor:

  • has failed to pay the amount of the judgment when it was due
  • has failed to pay one or more instalments due under the terms of the judgment.

Please remember courts staff can provide you with information, tell you about court forms and procedures, but they cannot give you legal advice. 

How do I apply for an arrestment order?

You, or the coroner with your consent, must complete form HC20 - Application for an Arrestment Order (Word doc) (PDF). 

Will I have to pay a fee?

You may have to pay a court fee. Court staff will be able to tell you how much you have to pay. You can also find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year. 

What will the court do with my application for an arrestment order?

The application will initially be dealt with by a judge without a hearing. The judge may make an interim arrestment order:

  • fixing a hearing to consider whether to make a final arrestment order

  • directing that until that hearing the third party must not make any payment which reduces the amount he owes the judgment debtor to less than the amount specified in the order.

An interim arrestment order shall specify the amount of money which the third party must retain. 

What happens next?

Copies of the interim arrestment order, the application notice and any documents filed in support of it must be served:

  • on the third party, not less than 21 days before the date fixed for the hearing

  • on the judgment debtor not less than

    • 7 days after a copy has been served on the third party

    • 7 days before the date fixed for the hearing.

If you, or the coroner with your consent, serve the interim arrestment order you must either:

  • file a certificate of service not less than 2 days before the hearing

  • produce a certificate of service at the hearing.

You, the defendant and the third party must then comply with the order. 

What are the obligations of the third party served with the interim arrestment order?

A bank served with an interim arrestment order must carry out a search to identify all accounts held with it by the judgment debtor. The bank must disclose to the court and you within 7 days of being served with the order, in respect of each account held by the judgment debtor:-

  • the number of the account

  • whether the account is in credit

  • if the account is in credit:

    • whether the balance of the account is sufficient to cover the amount specified in the order

    • the amount of the balance at the date it was served with the order, if it is less than the amount specified in the order

    • whether the bank asserts any right to the money in the account.

If the judgment debtor does not hold an account with the bank; or the bank is unable to comply with the order for any other reason the bank must inform the court and the judgment creditor of that fact within 7 days of being served with the order.

Any third party other than a bank served with an interim arrestment order must notify the court and the judgment creditor in writing within 7 days of being served with the order, if he claims:

  • not to owe any money to the judgment debtor

  • to owe less than the amount specified in the order. 

What happens if the judgment debtor objects to the making of the final arrestment order?

If the judgment debtor or the third party objects to the court making a final arrestment order, he must file and serve written evidence stating the grounds for his objections. Written evidence must be filed and served on each other party as soon as possible and in any event not less than 3 days before the hearing. 

What will happen at the hearing?

The judge will consider the application, the objections that have been filed by the defendant and all the evidence that has been filed by all the parties and is available to the judge.

The judge may then:

  • make a final arrestment order

  • discharge the interim arrestment order and dismiss the application1

  • deal with any issues in dispute between the parties.

1If the application is dismissed you will not be able to recover the fee you paid to issue it and you may have to pay the costs of the party who raised the objection.

This section will provide you with very general information on how and when to obtain an order where the court will appoint a Receiver. You should refer to the rules (Part 12, Chapter 3) for more information on the appointment of a Receiver. You should also read the section:

I have a judgment but the defendant has not paid

What is the appointment of a Receiver?

The appointment of a Receiver is where a person, usually a qualified professional , is appointed by the court on the application of the judgment creditor as a method of enforcing a judgment.

The Receiver is a neutral person (often a professional trustee) appointed by a judge to take charge of the property of the judgment debtor and realise assets and available monies so realised to satisfy payment of the judgment debt.

When can I apply for a Receiver to be appointed?

You can ask the court to appoint a Receiver:

  • before proceedings have been started

  • in existing proceedings

  • on or after judgment.

What do I need to do to ask the court to appoint a Receiver?

You should file an application using form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF). An application may be made without notice and must be supported by written evidence.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome you will need to consider whether you have grounds for appeal.

You must act quickly if you want to appeal.

An appeal must be made within strict time limits which start on the day the judge makes a decision, or shortly afterwards. The time you have will depend on the type of order you are appealing against. For further details please see Part 14 Chapter 1 of the Rules of the High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man. You may have to pay a fee and court staff will be able to tell you what the fee is. You can also find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year.

You must have proper reasons (grounds) for making an appeal. The notes you made at the hearing will help those advising you to decide if you do have grounds for an appeal.

It is not advisable to take this step without getting some advice from an advocate. If your appeal is unsuccessful you may end up having to pay the costs of the successful party.

Page last updated on 23 August 2018