Why would the defendant file an acknowledgment of service instead of a defence?

Filing a Form N9 (acknowledgment of service) gives the defendant extra time in which to prepare a defence. The time for filing a defence is increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of service of your particulars of claim.

If the defendant files an acknowledgment of service, but then fails to file a defence within the time allowed, you can ask the court to enter ‘judgment in default’. This means asking the court to make an order that the defendant pay you the money and costs you are claiming. The leaflet EX304 - No reply to my claim form - what should I do? - will tell you what you have to do.      As an alternative, you can file a "general denial", which is a denial of all allegations. It may be intellectually dishonest to do so if some of the allegations are, in fact, correct. By doing this, you are requiring the Plaintiff to provide all allegations of the complaint (even those pertaining to your status as a person/entity subject to suit). Doing this may incur the wrath of the court (because doubtless there are some allegations that are actually true), or get off on the wrong foot with the Plaintiff or its attorney, so proceed with caution.

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