How to defend a counterclaim

If you need more time to prepare counterclaim defence then you should file Acknowledgment of Service(county court form N213) within 14 days. After that you have totally 28 days to prepare reply to counterclaim.

Base on CPR 15, Practice direction 3.2 Claimant, who got counterclaim should file reply and defence counterclaim in one document and at the same day if it was ordered by the court. In case of absence such court order, claimant who got counterclaim could serve and file reply and defence in separate documents and different days:

3.2  Where a claimant serves a reply and a defence to counterclaim, the reply and defence to counterclaim should normally form one document with the defence to counterclaim following on from the reply.

3.2A  Rule 15.8(a) provides that a claimant must file any reply with his directions questionnaire. Where the date by which he must file his directions questionnaire is later than the date by which he must file his defence to counterclaim (because the time for filing the directions questionnaire under rule 26.3(6) is more than 14 days (small claims track) or more than 28 days (fast track and multi-track) after the date on which it is deemed to be served), the court will normally order that the defence to counterclaim must be filed by the same date as the reply. Where the court does not make such an order the reply and defence to counterclaim may form separate documents.

To prepare defence to counterclaim it need to be used the same county court form for defence small claim:

  • N9B – dispute a counterclaim
  • N9A – admitting a counterclaim
  • Just for the acknowledgment of service you must use form N213. Response pack usually provided together with counterclaim statement and notes for defendant on replying to the Part 20 claim form.
  • If claimant wants to dispute court jurisdiction then application form N244 need to be used and fee could be applied. Based on court fee guide application on notice where no other fee is specified fee  -  £255 (October 2016).

Failure to file defence to counterclaim

In case of failure to file defence defendant may request default judgment on a counterclaim based on CPR 12. But this rule doesn’t apply to the additional claim issued against third party(not claimant of primary small claim):

Application of these Rules to additional claims


(3) Part 12 (default judgment) applies to a counterclaim but not to other additional claims.

Fail to serve acknowledgement of service

If claimant wishes to defend a counterclaim but fail to file acknowledgment of service(N213) Part 10 doesn’t apply and default judgment couldn’t be issued:

Defendant’s counterclaim against the claimant


(3) Part 10 (acknowledgment of service) does not apply to a claimant who wishes to defend a counterclaim.

And CPR 12.3:

(2) Judgment in default of defence may be obtained only –

(b) in a counterclaim made under rule 20.4, where a defence has not been filed,

(Rule 20.4 makes general provision for a defendant’s counterclaim against a claimant, and rule 20.4(3) provides that Part 10 (acknowledgement of service) does not apply to a counterclaim made under that rule)

If claimant fails to file an acknowledgement of service or defend counterclaim is deemed to admit the part 20 claim and will be bound by any relevant judgment in the main claim.

If main claim was allocated at small claim track, it doesn’t mean that counterclaim would be allocated at the same track. Claim amount is applied to the counterclaim.

Counterclaim issued under CPR 20 will be dealt and heard with the main claim if convenient, but can otherwise be considered with quite separately.

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