If a defence is not filed within 21 days of service of the claim the plaintiff can go back to the court registry and ask to sign judgment. This is done by filling in a form which the registry can provide. By doing this the claim will become a judgment of the court and can be enforced in the same way as a judgment given by a magistrate after a trial.
It is possible for a defendant to subsequently apply to the court to set aside a judgment obtained in this way, but before the court will do so it would have to be convinced that the defendant had a valid reason for not filing the defence within the 21 days and that they also have good grounds for defending the claim.
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