The Small Claims procedure is a court procedure which provides a simple and informal way of resolving disputes. This section of the website explains the sort of cases that are likely to be dealt with in the Small Claims procedure and how the cases will be handled.
As a general guide to the Small Claims process you should read the claimant section of the website. In order to help you find the information you require, at whatever stage of the proceedings you are, the information has been divided up into the sections listed below. Use the link to go directly to the information you require.
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 the claimant win the case?" or "What evidence do I need?" You should seek legal advice from an advocate.
What should I do when I receive a claim form?
You have a limited time in which to reply to the claim. Do not ignore it, act quickly.
First check the section of the claim form headed “particulars of claim”. If it states that the particulars of claim are to follow, you should not reply until you receive them (which should be within 14 days of receiving the claim form).
If the “particulars of claim” section is completed or states that the particulars are attached you must reply within 14 days of the date you received it (the “date of service”).
Remember to post your reply at least two days before the end of the 14 day period if you are sending by post.
What will happen if I do nothing?
If you do nothing it could result in a judgment against you. This means that you will be ordered by the court to pay the amount of the claim, or an amount decided by the court, and costs.
The court will send you a copy of the judgment and your name and address will be entered on the Isle of Man "Register of Judgments" and also the "Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales" maintained by Registry Trust Ltd. You may review the Isle of Man "Register of Judgments" at the Court Office/public counter.
The credit industry (e.g. banks and building societies) use the information on these registers to establish a person's credit worthiness. If your name is on these registers it could lead to you being refused credit.
For more information see the section:
How do I reply to the claim form?
A “response pack” will be sent to you with the claim form or the particulars of claim if they were served separately. The response pack contains all the forms you need, with guidance notes, to reply to the claim.
You may either:
pay the amount claimed
admit all or part of the claim or liability for the claim and ask for time to pay
dispute (defend) the claim.
If the claim is for a specified amount (a fixed amount of money), the response pack will contain:
If the claim is for an unspecified amount (not for a fixed amount of money) , the response pack will contain:
Before you complete any of these forms, be sure and read HC1B - Notes for defendant (PDF) attached to the claim form.
I owe the money and want to pay it straightaway. How should I do this?
You can send or take the money to the claimant at the address shown on the claim form for payments or documents. It is a good idea to ask for a receipt.
You must make sure that your payment arrives no later than 14 days after your received the particulars of claim. If you do not, the claimant may have requested the court to enter a judgment against you.
The amount of money you should pay is shown in the box at the bottom of the front page of the claim form under “Total Amount”. If the claimant is claiming interest, you will have to add the daily interest to that amount.
What can I do if I admit I owe the money but cannot afford to pay it all now?
If you admit that you owe the money but cannot afford to pay it all at once, you can ask for time to pay. Fill in form HC2C – Admission Form (Word doc) (PDF). Complete all the details about your income and expenses and how you would like to pay.
Take or send the other copy to the claimant at the address to which documents or payments should be sent at the end of the claim form.
The claimant will decide whether to accept your proposal for payment.
What happens if the claimant rejects my proposal for payment?
If the claimant applies for judgment against you as a result of you making the admission and he also rejects your offer of how to pay he/she must give the reasons to the court in the request for judgment form wherein he can also put forward his proposal of how and when you should pay. His proposal can include payment to be made immediately or for instalments.
The court will then consider your offer and the claimant’s proposals and make a decision as to how it feels the payments should be made. If either you or the claimant wishes the order to be re-determined you must file an application within 14 days of service on you of the order.
I admit the claim for an unspecified amount - what do I do?
admit liability for the whole claim without saying how much is admitted
admit liability for the whole claim but want the court to decide the amount you should pay
admit liability for the claim and offer a fixed sum of money to settle it;
Take or send one copy of the form to the Court Office at
Isle of Man Courts of Justice
Take or send the other copy to the claimant at the address to which documents or payments should be sent at the end of the claim form.
What is defending a claim?
This is where the you file a form called a defence. It is an answer to a claim made against you to indicate you want to contest the claim. The defence will contain statements as to why you disagree with the claim. It is a document to let the claimant know what your position is so that the matter can proceed with both parties knowing what the other intends to say about the issue.
I want to defend the claim - what do I do?
Whichever form you complete, you must make sure that one copy is taken or sent to court (called 'filing') and the other copy is taken or sent to the claimant no later than 14 days from the date the particulars of claim were served on you. If you do not, the claimant can ask the court to enter a judgment. This means that you will be ordered by the court to pay the amount of the claim, or an amount decided by the court, and costs.
Why would I file an acknowledgment of service rather than a defence form?
Filing the acknowledgement of service allows you more time in which to seek advice and complete your defence. If you file an acknowledgment of service within 14 days of service of the particulars of claim, this extends the time for filing the defence to 28 days from the service of the particulars of claim.
What if my defence is that I have already paid the amount claimed?
You should still complete the defence form HC2E – Defence & Counterclaim Form (specified) (Word doc) (PDF) or HC2F – Defence & Counterclaim Form (unspecified) (Word doc) (PDF) and send or take one copy to the court. Again, you must take or send the other copy to the claimant at the address to which documents or payments should be sent at the end of the claim form.
The claimant must respond within 28 days of receiving the form from you stating whether:
it is agreed that the money has been paid and the matter will not be taken any further; or
it is not accepted that the money has been paid, that the claim should continue as a defended claim.
If you paid the money after the date of issue (shown on the claim form), the claimant may still claim for the court fee and any advocate’s costs shown on the claim form. You should send the money direct to the claimant.
The claimant owes me money - what can I do?
If you are owed money by the claimant and want to claim this (called making a counterclaim), you can do so by using the defence form HC2E – Defence Form & Counterclaim (specified) (Word doc) (PDF) or HC2F – Defence & Counterclaim Form (unspecified) (Word doc) (PDF). Complete the appropriate section of the form, then send or take one copy to the court and send or take the other copy to the claimant.
To start your counterclaim, you will have to pay a fee. Court Office staff can tell you how much you have to pay. Alternatively, you can view the current Fees Order here. You can make a counterclaim against the claimant(s) without the Courts permission if it is filed with the defence. To make a counterclaim at any other time, the Court’s permission will be required.
I do owe some money, but not as much as the amount claimed
You can admit part of the claim if you agree that you do owe some money, but less than the amount claimed. Complete forms HC2C – Admission Form (specified) (Word doc) (PDF) and HC2E – Defence & Counterclaim Form (specified) (Word doc) (PDF) stating how much you do owe and why you consider that you do not owe any more than that. Send or take one copy to the court and send or take the other copy to the claimant within 14 days of service of the claimant’s particulars of claim and 28 days if you have filled in an acknowledgment of service.
pay the amount that you agree you owe the claimant immediately; or
ask for time to pay by either instalments of at some future date.
The claimant must reply to you and the court within 14 days of receiving your part admission stating whether it is:
accepted in full and final settlement of the claim; or
not accepted and the claim should continue as defended.
Will I need to go to court?
If you defend the claim, or if you and the claimant cannot agree about paying instalments, you may have to go to court. Refer to the section:
What happens if I do not pay?
If the court sends you an order to pay, but you do not, the claimant can ask the court to take steps to make you pay. This is called enforcing the judgment.
Should I see an advocate?
In straight forward cases, the small claims procedure provides a simple and informal way of resolving disputes. You should be able to defend your claim without the need for an advocate.
In more complex cases you will need to have some understanding of the legal basis of the claim, your defence and court procedures. You may, for example, need to provide experts' reports and organise statements from witnesses. In any case it may save you a lot of money, time and effort if you gain some legal advice when you receive the claim.
Remember, court staff are not able to provide you with advice.
This section will tell you how to pay your judgment and gives you more information about what the judgment means to you.
Who do I pay?
You must pay the claimant. This is the person or organisation that made the claim against you. The claimant may have an advocate or a representative who will deal with your payments.
The name and address for payment is shown clearly on the judgment.
If an order has been made for the judgment to be paid by instalments, ask the claimant or his/her representative about the best way to pay. The claimant may give you a paying-in book or you may be able to set up a standing order to have the money sent to the claimant straight from your bank account.
Remember the court cannot accept your payments.
How do I pay?
Always use a method of payment which gives you proof that you have paid. You can send cheques or postal orders by post. Do not send cash as you will have no proof that you paid. Send your name, address, claim number and the claimant’s reference with your payment. The claimant’s reference is on the judgment. Keep a copy of any letters you send.
Keep a record of the payments you make. You will need it if you and the claimant disagree about the payments you have made. If you are paying by instalments, you might like to use this sample record sheet.
When do I pay?
The judgment will tell you the date you must pay the claimant by. If you are behind, or late with your payments, even by one day, the claimant can ask the court to take steps to make you pay. This may mean that you have to pay more costs.
Send your payments to the claimant at least four clear working days before the end date. This will allow for any delays.
Will I get credit now?
Most judgments will have been entered on
maintained by Registry Trust Ltd.
Banks, building societies and credit companies may search the Register. Your judgment could affect you if you apply for credit or a mortgage.
What if I did not get the claim form?
If you did not reply to the claim form, the claimant will ask for judgment ‘by default’. If a judgment is made against you but you did not get the claim form, you can make an application to have the judgment ‘set aside’. You can only do this if you do not think that you owe the money. If the judgment is set aside, the Register will be marked accordingly.
If you want to ask for the judgment to be set aside complete form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF). On the form say that you did not get the claim form and why you do not think you should pay the judgment. You must provide evidence to support your application. You will have to pay a fee to make the application.
Keep a copy of your application form.
Once the court has read your application form, a private hearing will be arranged for you and the claimant to discuss your application with a judge. The judge will decide whether to cancel the judgment.
If you do not go to the hearing, your request to have the judgment cancelled could be dismissed (rejected). You may have to pay more costs and the claimant may take other steps to get the money you owe.
What if the instalments are not what I offered to pay?
If you are sent a judgment after making an admission, but the instalments are not what you offered when you replied to the claim form, you can apply to the court to ask them to change the instalments. You must say why you want the court to do this.
What will happen if I do nothing?
If you have a court judgment against you, you must do something about it, even if you cannot afford the amount of money you have been told to pay.
Read the section:
If you do not pay anything, or you do not keep up with the payments, the claimant can ask the court to enforce the judgment (take steps to make you pay). You may have to pay more costs.
This section will tell you what you can do if you cannot pay the judgment or if the claimant (the person who took you to court) asks the court to take steps to make you pay. This is known as ‘enforcing the judgment’.
You may want to talk to an advocate if you are not sure about the case against you. You may qualify for Legal Aid to meet some, or all, of your legal costs.
What happens if I cannot pay the judgment?
If you have been ordered to pay the whole judgment in full (in one amount) or you have been ordered to pay by instalments which you cannot afford, you can ask the court to vary the order and reduce the instalments.
Fill in all the details about your income and spending. Remember to include the amount you can afford to pay. You have to pay a fee for a varied order. Court staff will tell you how much you have to pay. Keep a copy and send the form and fee to the court. The court will send the form to the claimant, who will decide whether to accept your offer of payment.
If the claimant accepts your offer, the court will make an order for the instalments you said you could pay.
If the claimant does not accept your offer, the court will look at the information you gave and will decide how much to pay and when.
If you still do not think you can afford to pay, you can apply to the court asking it to vary the order. You should apply within 14 days of the date on the order. Give your reasons why you don’t think you can pay amount that the court has ordered you to pay.
The court will then arrange a private hearing for you and the claimant to discuss your payments with a judge.
Once the court has made an order for instalments you can afford, you must keep up with your payments.
What if I cannot afford to pay anything towards the judgment?
If you suddenly have no income and you can’t pay anything towards the judgment, you can ask the court for permission to pay nothing for the moment. This is called a ‘stay of enforcement’. Fill in form HC8A - Application Notice General (Word doc) (PDF) to ask for a stay of enforcement, giving your reasons.
You will have to pay a fee to apply for a stay of enforcement. Court staff will tell you how much you have to pay. Keep a copy and send the form and fee to the court.
The court will arrange a private hearing for you and the claimant to discuss you application with a judge.
What will happen if I do nothing?
If you do not pay anything once you have received the judgment, or you do not keep up with the payments, the claimant can ask the court to enforce the judgment. The claimant will have to pay a fee for this and the fee will probably be added to the amount you owe. If you do nothing now you may have to pay more later.
The claimant then has a number of methods of enforcement:
- an attachment of earnings order
- the appointment of a receiver
- an arrestment order
- charging order
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 owe
see whether you have goods or land to the value of the money you owe.
If you do not have the money the coroner will look at your belongings and decide whether you have anything that can be sold at an auction to clear the debt.
What is an attachment of earnings order?
An attachment of earnings order is sent to your employer. It tells your employer to take money from your wages each pay day and send it to the appropriate coroner . The coroner then sends the money to the claimant.
You must be employed by someone before an attachment of earnings order can be issued. An order cannot be made if you are 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 your living expenses are greater than what is earned.
Tell the court if you are:
in the armed forces1
a merchant seaman
The court cannot make an attachment of earnings order against you if you are one of the above. You may need to provide proof, such as your unemployment benefit number or your service number. If you pay the amount you owe straight away, the court will not send an order to your employer.
You must fill in the statement of means and send it to the court immediately. If you do not, the court can send you to prison and may also contact your employer to find out how much you earn.
The court will look at the information you have given on your statement and decide whether to make an attachment of earnings order. The court officer will also decide how much you can afford to pay each week or each month.
The court will take into account how much you need to live on and to pay regular bills.
The court will send the order to your employer saying how much to take out of your wages and when to take it. Your employer may take an additional £1 each time he or she takes money from your wages to cover his or her expenses.
1please refer to the Army Act 1955
What if I already have an attachment of earnings order?
You should make the court aware if you already have an attachment of earnings order. The court will take into account your income and outgoings as a whole to decide whether to make an attachment of earnings order in the present claim. Your existing attachment of earnings order will be regarded as an outgoing.
What is an arrestment order?
An arrestment order is issued by the court, upon application by the judgment creditor, or the coroner of the relevant sheading with the judgment creditor's consent, against a third party, e.g. a bank, to seize money in their keeping. The order will require the third party to pay the judgement creditor:-
the amount of any debt due or accruing due to the you from the third party
so much of that debt as is sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt and the judgment creditor's costs of the application.
What is appointing 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.
What is a charging order?
A charging order is an order of the court placing a ‘charge’ over or against your 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.
Why have I received an interim charging order?
The order which has been made is an interim charging order. You have received it because the judgment creditor has told the court that you have failed to:
pay the amount of the judgment when it was due
pay one or more instalments due under the terms of the judgment.
Can I oppose the interim charging order?
You may oppose the making of a final order. You have been notified of the time and place of a hearing at which the court will consider whether to make a final order confirming the charge on the asset. To oppose the making of a final order you must file in the Court Office a witness statement giving your reasons for doing so not less than 7 days before the hearing date and send a copy to the judgment creditor. You will be expected to attend the hearing.
What happens at the hearing?
The judge will consider the 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 may be able to recover your costs from the judgment creditor.
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 Court Office who will bring it to the attention of the judge. If there is an alternative time available in the court diary the judge will consider setting a new date. However, if this is not possible, the original date will remain in place and the parties will be expected to attend the court.
If the other party is not agreeable to a new date, again contact the courts office expressing the reasons for your request to change the date and why the other party objects. The Court Office will bring it to the attention of the judge who will consider the circumstances and may arrange a short appointment for parties to attend court 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 Court Office/public counter at the courts between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Thursday or 9 am to 4.30 pm Friday and speak with a member of staff
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 you 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, you may be able to gain help by contacting the courts office.
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 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, a preliminary or disposal hearing)
considering any other application you or the other party have made unless this is at a final hearing.
Please note that court staff cannot tell you what witnesses, evidence etc. you need. Staff cannot give you legal advice.
Unless the court directs attendance, what can I do if a witness is unwilling to come to the final hearing?
You can issue a witness with a summons by completing form HC9 – Witness Summons (Word doc) (PDF). You must send the completed form to the Court Office where it will be processed, recorded and sealed with the court seal. The summons will then be returned to you to arrange service with the coroner.
A fee for filing the summons is payable and the courts office can tell you how much it is. You can find details in the fees section and please note that the fee might increase each year.
What should I do to prepare for the hearing?
Make sure you and your witnesses, if you have any, know:
the time and date of the hearing
which court the hearing is in
If the hearing is the final hearing, 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.
Ensure you have all the documents you want to use at the hearing ready. It will help if you have them in the order you want to use them.
To enable you to ensure that you have said everything you need to say to the court you may find it helpful to make a note of what you have already said and what you still have to say to the court.
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 court rooms, 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”
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).
A witness will normally be asked to swear (take an oath) that what is said or used to prove your case is true. If a witness does not wish to take an oath he/she may make a solemn 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 court room 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 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?
If you are dissatisfied with the judge’s decision you may be able to apply to have the matter set aside. Applications to set aside a small claims judgment will be heard by a more senior judge. If you wish to set the judgment aside you must make an application within 14 days of the date of the judgment.
You must act quickly if you want to make an 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 tell be able to tell you what the fee is.
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.
What will happen after the hearing?
Court staff will send the parties an order confirming the judge’s decision.
This section provides information on the Isle of Man "Register of Judgments" (note that judgments are also usually recorded on the "Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales", maintained by Registry Trust Ltd).
What happens when the court orders me to pay an amount of money?
If the court has ordered you to pay an amount of money (called ‘having a judgment entered against you’), details of the judgment will usually be entered on the Register of Judgments and the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales.
Organisations such as banks, building societies and credit companies may use the information on the Register when someone applies for credit such as a loan or overdraft. It helps them decide whether or not that person would be able to pay off the credit.
How can I find out if a judgment is registered against me?
If you are not sure whether any judgments have been registered against you, you can search the Isle of Man "Register of Judgments" and/or Trust Online. You may view the Isle of Man "Register of Judgments" at the Court Office/public counter.
What is the effect of registration?
If you have a judgment entered against you, you may find it difficult to get credit although this may not be the only reason.
If you would like to know more about credit and credit problems contact the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading:-
Isle of Man
Telephone: +44 (0) 1624 686500
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I find out more?
If you need to know more about anything, the court will be able to help you. Always have the court claim number and any documents and information about the claim with you when you speak to the court.
pay the claimant or his or her representative, not the court
enclose your name, address and any reference
record all the payments you have made and keep proof of them
send your payment in good time
courts staff are not advocates; they cannot give you legal advice.