What is a court summons?
A court summons is a document issued by a magistrate or judge of a court, to appear before the court for a case filed by a plaintiff. It is usually served by the bailiff of the court, and may be served on you directly or indirectly by substituted means (by display in a public place or publication in the newspaper). Usually, a court summons is preceded by a letter(s) of demand by the plaintiff, which has been ignored or treated with levity. So the question to be answered is: what should I do or not do when I receive a court summons?
Steps to take when you receive a court summons
- Ask the bailiff questions on the court the summons originated from, the location and what the case is about, his name and possibly phone number.
- Ensure that the name addressed on the summons is yours
- Check the summons for the name of the plaintiff’s lawyer information (address and phone number/ email), and contact him on a settlement plan if the claim is not large.
- Get a lawyer to advise you appropriately on the your defence if any or a means of settlement or possible negotiation.
- Defend the lawsuit whether or not you are guilty of the allegations levelled against you.
Consequences of Ignoring a court summons
Most persons treat court summons as a mere piece of paper and ignore it with the assumption that it is a mere threat. Unfortunately, you may try to salvage the situation only when a default judgment has been entered against you. Therefore, ignoring a court summons would lead to the following;
- Ignoring the court summons is an indirect admission on your part that the claims of the plaintiff against you are true.
- The court would enter a default judgment (in the absence of any defence on your part) to the claims of the plaintiff.
- In other to enforce the judgment, the plaintiff would garnishee all bank accounts you possess or place a lien on your properties to recover the judgment sum as a judgment debtor.
It is therefore advised that when you receive a court summons you should contact a lawyer to advice you accordingly. Lawstrive has exceptional experienced lawyers, who can handle any case efficiently.
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