5. What happens if the defendant does not file an acknowledgment of service form or a defence?
If the defendant does not file an acknowledgment of service or a defence within the time allowed, the plaintiff can apply to the court for judgment in favour of his claim. In such a case, a full trial is not required.
If the claim is related to a debt or liquidated damages (i.e. where the amount of the claim is fixed and ascertainable), such as an action on a dishonoured cheque, the plaintiff may enter judgment for the amount claimed and the relevant legal costs.
Interlocutory judgment will be entered instead if the plaintiff is claiming for unliquidated damages (i.e. where the amount of damages has to be assessed by the court), for example, for loss of profits or damages for injury to person or property. In such a case, the plaintiff will have to appear in court so that a judge or a master can assess the amount of damages he is entitled to.