Obtaining a Default Judgment in the Justice of the Peace Court

When the Defendant fails to appear, plead, or otherwise defend the case and the Plaintiff requests judgment to be entered in his or her favor, a default judgment may be entered.

If no answer is received by the Court in a debt or trespass action or if, in any type of action, the Defendant fails to appear at the date and time scheduled for trial, the Court will send out "Statement of Plaintiff in Support of Default Judgment (Civil Form No. 13) to the Plaintiff. (If the default relates to a deficiency judgment pursuant to 6 Del.C. § 9-504, the Plaintiff may also choose to submit Civil Form No. 13dj.)

Plaintiffs should remember that the "Statement" must be notarized.

In addition, the amount of money claimed may not exceed the amount claimed in the complaint and pre-judgment interest or other claims may not be included in the judgment unless requested in the complaint. However, in a summary possession action, the amount demanded may be increased to include the reasonable value of the use and occupation to the time when a writ of possession is issued and for any period of time with respect to which the agreement does not make any provision for payment of rent. (This period of time may include the time between the issuance of the suit and the actual recovery of the premises.)

When the "Statement" is completed and returned to the Court, the Court will determine whether judgment can be entered without a hearing to determine the amount of damages. If a hearing is required, the Court will notify the parties.