England and Wales
In disputing the claim, the party must provide a defence. The court uses an allocation questionnaire to decide which track to allocate the case to and then provides directions. These tell the parties what they need to do and by when and can include a trial date or preliminary hearing date (if there are things to be dealt with before trial).
A request can be made by letter to change a hearing date.
It is important to follow directions exactly as, otherwise, a penalty can be imposed, or the case can be postponed.
Directions can also require the parties to disclose documents relevant to their case. This is done by serving a list of documents on the other. The list must include documents you are relying on and documents that do not help your case. Each party is entitled to inspect any document on the list.
If the case is settled before trial, confirm this in writing and send a copy to the court.
When the trial has taken place, a court order is sent to the parties. Reasons for the decision are not normally given.
If the parties agree, a case can be dealt with by the court based on the papers before them without the need for a hearing.
The defending party can also ask the courts for a further 14 days to respond to the claim (this would mean 14 days after the date of response outlined in the original claim).
Where the person you are bringing a claim against disputes the claim, they fill in Form 4A and sent a copy to both you (the claimant) and the court. It is then up to the sheriff to decide how to proceed.
The sheriff has a number of options to choose from:
refer the parties for alternative dispute resolution
arrange a case management discussion
arrange a hearing
consider making a claim without a hearing
dismiss the claim or reach a decision because the claim is unlikely to succeed
You will be informed of the sheriff’s decision. If you need to attend court, you will be informed of the date and time and the reason for the hearing/discussion.