Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 38 – Default

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie




Default has quite a few meanings and some may be new for you. It can be used to mean:

  • failure to pay:

He defaulted in payment and the bank foreclosed on (ha pignorato) his car.

  • failure to: do, or act, or deliver, or to be present:

They were constantly late with the delivery of orders and lost their most important client due to default.

  • failure to perform legal obligation:

The contract was terminated due to default of the defendant who hadn’t fulfilled her obligations.

  • automatically:

She became Prime Minister by default when her predecessor stepped down.

  • base condition/factory setting:

The default setting of the computer had not been changed.

  • Default judgement:

A default judgment is and automatic judgment which is issued when a defendant does not appear in court or is not legally represented in court, or fails to respond to the court in a set time (scadenza definita). We can say: A hearing was held in which the judge determined the terms of the default judgment.

Be careful when using “By default” and “In default”:

  • A party is in default (does not perform).
  • A judge issues judgment by default (automatically, as the law requires).

So we can say: The party was in default so a judgment by default was entered against the defendant.

Thank you very much and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your Legal English!

Find out more about Default Judgement: “Rule 55. Default; Default Judgment“.

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