Tips On How to Handle a County Court Judgment

By  //  February 11, 2023

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A CCJ or, County Court Judgment is issued by a county court when a person fails to pay back the money they owe.

CCJs are an easy method for a creditor to claim funds they are entitled to. The Court considers the case, followed by deciding whether there is a debt that needs to be paid. If they find that there is, the court will then issue a County Court Judgment. This sets out the way the debt needs to be repaid. 

Before a creditor decides to take legal action, it is very likely that they have tried to contact you on numerous occasions asking for payment.

If you have refused to pay or you are not able to make payments, you might then be issued a CCJ Claim Form. This document provides you with a chance to either defend yourself by presenting your current situation before a CCJ will be decided on. If you decide to ignore this document, the CCJ will then be issued “in default”. 

What Are Your Options?

When you receive a Claim Form, there are a few options to choose from:

Settle the amount owing in full, which will include the court fees and any interest. If you are able to pay at this stage, you won’t be required to send these forms back. With this option, you can avoid a CCJ recorded on your name and avoid a hearing in court. 

The next option is to request specified installments or to ask for more time to settle the amount owed. If you choose this option, the creditor will still issue the CCJ, but they might also agree to the repayment terms. 

Dispute the amount that is owed. If you believe that you are owing less than what is being claimed, return the documentation explaining why. The Court then reviews your case, so that they can decide on which party is correct. If they side with the creditor, a CCJ will be issued against you. 

Dispute the claim in its entirety. If you believe that you do not owe anything, you will need to return a Defence Form to the Court, which should include your version of the story or argument. Once again, the Court will then review your case to decide who is right. If they side with the case of the creditor, a CCJ will be issued against you. 

Counter Claim against your creditor. If you decide to dispute the claim of the creditor and you also feel they owe you money, you must complete a Counter Claim form. There might be fees involved to go ahead with this option. For example, this could apply when a builder is suing you for not paying them, but you believe the builder actually owes you money because they breached the contract. 

What Will Happen In Court

If the case lands up in court, the hearing is very simple and held privately. You are not expected to attend the hearing unless you are counterclaiming, or you have decided to dispute the claim. During these hearings, the court considers the evidence presented and then makes a ruling where they will either favor you or your creditor. 

If the court has made a decision that you need to pay back the money, a CCJ will be issued against you. A CCJ is a type of court order that states you have to repay your debt. The court order will also include how you should repay, for example, the full amount owing in 28 days or, by monthly payments. 

What Will Happen If You Cannot Pay The CCJ?

If you can’t or don’t pay, the creditor has the option to go back to the court in order to “enforce” the CCJ. This will typically include additional fees to you. These CCJ enforcement actions can include:

– Bailiff Action

This is an enforcement action that we most frequently deal with. Refer to our “Guide to Bailiffs“. 

– Charging Order

This will secure a CCJ against any property you own. This means you will have to settle the debts before you will be allowed to re-mortgage or sell your property. 

– Attachment Of Earnings Order

The Court might authorize an order which will allow payments to go off your salary every month. In this situation, the Court directly contacts your employer. 

How Will A CCJ Affect Your Credit File? 

If you are not able to settle the total amount owing within 28 days after you have received the judgment (and provided evidence to the Court), the CCJ will appear on your credit file and be entered at the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines. This will remain on your credit record for 6 years. This is a record that can have a significant impact on your capacity to secure credit cards, bank accounts, or a mortgage for the next 6 years. 

If you are able to pay the CCJ after 28 days, it still appears on the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines, but once paid it is recorded as “satisfied”. This might slightly improve your credit record, but most lenders still view this in a negative light. 

Can I Get My CCJ Removed?

If you want a CCJ removed the only way is to request the Court to “set aside the judgment”, since your reason is genuine to dispute the claim. If you go ahead with this approach, there is a fee involved to submit this type of application to a Court. This application is an N244 Form, and the court fees are usually £255.

If the application is made without a valid reason, this could lead to further expenses and costs to you.