A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a court order, issued to encourage a debtor to repay what they owe. If you fail to pay the amount in the allotted timeframe, the CCJ will harm your credit rating and the creditor could resort to further debt collection methods.
What is a CCJ?
Creditors file CCJs in an attempt to recover unpaid debt; they can be filed against companies and individuals. The county court must be convinced there is an unpaid debt before approving and issuing the CCJ.
The order should include details of how much you owe, who it is intended for, the payment deadline, and whether you can pay in instalments or if the full amount is required immediately.
What to do if you have a CCJ
If you’re in debt, creditors will likely issue warnings in the form of letters or default notices before resorting to a CCJ. Upon receiving a CCJ, you should act immediately.
Respond to the court’s email or letter by the date specified. Usually, this is within 14 days of receipt of the letter.
If you believe someone sent the CCJ in error and you don’t owe any money, you should ask the court to cancel or set aside the judgement. If you do owe money, you should pay it back in full, or in instalments if the judgement will allow.
How can a CCJ affect me?
The best way forward if you receive a CCJ would be to pay the outstanding amount within 30 days of the notice. While a CCJ doesn’t force a debtor to repay their creditors, there can be lasting effects if you don’t act immediately.
A CCJ’s impact on my credit rating
If you pay the owed debt within the 30 days, the CCJ will clear, and there won’t be a lasting impact on your credit file. If you don’t pay within the timeframe, the CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years. Making it harder for you to get credit, and you risk being charged a higher interest rate on any credit you do get.
CCJ’s effect on sole traders
If you’re working as a sole trader, a CCJ can threaten not just your business, but also your personal finances. Sole traders don’t have the limited liability protection found in a limited company; both you and your business are considered the same legal entity. If issued with a CCJ, you’ll be expected to use your personal finances to repay the debt if your business funds are insufficient.
Failing to pay off the CCJ means your creditors could take further insolvency action against you, which may include petitioning you into bankruptcy. You may have to apply for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) to prevent this.
A CCJ’s effect on a limited company
If the CCJ is against a limited company, the limited liability should protect you personally, unless Personal Guarantees are in place.
A CCJ can’t force your company to repay its debts. However, it does give bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers justification to visit your premises and potentially seize assets.
Failure to pay the debt could result in creditors pursuing further insolvency measures and could even result in the issuing of a winding-up petition.
CCJs appear on the public ‘Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines’, or ‘CCJ Register’. Anyone can view this register, and being on it could harm relationships with suppliers and customers and deter potential investors.
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is an order issued by a county court to encourage a company or individual to repay outstanding debt. While the order doesn’t force the repayment, you could face serious, long-lasting consequences if you don’t pay back the outstanding amount. A CCJ will remain on your credit file for six years if you don’t settle within 30 days. During that time, creditors could resort to further measures such as bailiffs or a winding-up petition.
How we can help
You should never ignore a County Court Judgement; what creditors do in response to that inaction would be far worse than just repaying the debt. If issued with a CCJ, and you’re unable to repay the amount or are unsure what to do next, you should speak to us immediately. Our experienced advisors will set you on the path best for you.
Help for individuals
If an informal payment plan is unsuitable for your circumstances, or you’ve been unable to come to an agreement with your creditors, we can help organise a more formal repayment plan.
A formal payment plan for individuals; an IVA
If the CCJ is against you, you can apply for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). An IVA is a formal agreement that takes a single monthly payment and distributes it amongst your creditors. You can include CCJs in an IVA, and if your creditors agree to our proposal, it can halt further creditor and bailiff action.
Our insolvency practitioners will calculate how much you can contribute based on your income and outgoings. Doing so allows you to repay what you can afford over a period of five years. Once those five years end, any remaining debt is written off.
Help for limited companies
If your limited company has a CCJ against it, we have several options available depending on your circumstances.
A formal payment plan for companies; a CVA
If you’re looking to continue trading while paying off the CCJ, you can apply for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Like an IVA, it is a formal arrangement which allows you to make an affordable monthly payment to your creditors, stopping them from taking further action against the company.
If creditors have issued multiple CCJs or threats of bailiff action, it can indicate more profound issues. A CVA could be unsuitable for your company, or the debt has got beyond a point from which the company can recover. We can also offer options to either restart the business in a new company or to liquidate the company and close the doors.