A county court judgement or CCJ, as it is more commonly referred to, is a court order issued against you if you fail to pay back a debt to a creditor. Through this order, the court is instructing you to repay an amount owing to a third party.
For example, if you have an unpaid bill and you ignore all reminder letters and phone calls regarding the debt, eventually the creditor you owe will lose patience with you. This is when they usually take you to court to apply for a court order or CCJ. The CCJ should not come as a surprise to you as your creditor should have already forewarned you by issuing a ‘default notice’ or a ‘letter before action’.
CCJ: The Basics
Before dealing with a CCJ, there are some things you should be aware of regarding CCJs. Here’s everything you need to know:
- A CCJ takes the form of a letter from the county court which made the judgement. It will be on headed paper from the court and bear an official stamp.
- You should have received prior warning before a CCJ is issued to you.
- There is no way to remove a genuine CCJ from public record. They are monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- A CCJ can only be removed from your record if it is repaid within 30 days or ‘set aside’. Otherwise the CCJ will remain on your record for six years.
- Ignoring a court order could result in the creditor taking further action against you.
How to deal with a CCJ
To effectively deal with a CCJ, you will need to take a number of important steps. This process is simple to follow and it is very important that you deal with a CCJ as quickly as possible to avoid any further action.
- Firstly, make sure that the paperwork received is legitimate and from the courts, not just a threat of action. Everything you need to look for to ensure this document is a real CCJ is discussed above.
- When you are served with a county court judgement, you will receive three important forms: N1 – this states the amount owed, the creditor and which court is dealing with this, N9A – the admission form and N9B – the defence form.
- If you admit that you are liable for the debt you have received the court order for, then you will need to complete the N1 and N9A forms and return them within 16 days. Complete all the sections and discuss payment options based on your income and expenditure. You can contact us to help you with this if necessary.
- However, if you want to dispute the court order, then you will need to complete the N9B form. If you are wanting to dispute the court order then you will need to get in contact with us as soon as possible to discuss how to deal with this appropriately.
- As soon as you receive the CCJ, it is registered on your credit file for six years. It will usually specify the monthly amount that you will need to pay or you may be able to make a payment offer yourself. If creditors are not happy with the offer of payment or you don’t respond to this order then they can demand the full amount immediately.
- If you don’t maintain the payments for whatever reason, the creditor can ask the court to take further action such as sending in bailiffs, an attachment of earnings order or a charging order.
- If you inform the creditor of a change in circumstances, then it may be possible to vary the amount paid and avoid any serious action.
The best way to deal with a CCJ is to comply with the order unless you have a solid reason to contest it. If you are able to pay the CCJ off in 30 days then you should do so and the CCJ will be removed from your credit file. If you are unable to repay immediately, don’t ignore it – speak to one of our experienced advisors as soon as possible for free, confidential advice.
Contact us on 0800 901 2488 or visit our personal debt website for more information on debt solutions for individuals.