A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a court order issued against you or your company if you fail to pay back a debt to a creditor. Through this order, the court is instructing you to repay the amount owed.
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’.
I’ve received a CCJ
The CCJ will take the form of a letter from the county court, which issued the judgement. The letter will be accompanied by three forms:
- N1 – Stating the amount owed.
- N9A – An admission form.
- N9B – A defence form.
If you admit you are liable for the specified debt, 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. To challenge the court order, you will need to get in contact with us as soon as possible to discuss your options.
How to deal with a CCJ
To effectively deal with a CCJ, you will need to take several important steps. This process is simple to follow.
- Firstly, make sure 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.
- Complete the N1 stating the amount owed, and either the N9A or N9B depending on whether you want to pay or dispute the CCJ.
- As soon as you receive the CCJ, it is registered on your credit file for six years, unless you pay the debt back within 30 days of the CCJ’s issuing, in which case it won’t be recorded. The CCJ 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.
What if I ignore a CCJ?
Even if you feel you don’t owe the creditor money, a CCJ should never be ignored. While being the subject of a CCJ isn’t a criminal offence, and the judgement can’t force you to repay the specified amount, it can lead to further action from your creditors. They could employ third-party debt collectors, and potentially sending bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) to recover assets worth the value of the debt. Having the judgement on your credit record will hurt your credit rating, making it harder to apply for credit, loans and finance in the future.
If you’re indebted to a creditor, they can apply for a County Court Judgement (CCJ). 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 can pay the CCJ off in 30 days, then you should do so. Paying within 30 days will remove the CCJ from your credit file. If you are unable to repay immediately, don’t ignore it, failing to pay means the CCJ stays on your record for six years.
How we can help
If you find yourself in personal debt or your company is struggling to pay what it owes, you should speak to us immediately, ideally before a CCJ is issued or other debt collection methods are actioned. The sooner you act, the more can be done to alleviate the debt. We have a team of licensed insolvency practitioners and experienced advisors to help you decide the best way forward. We can also help with personal debt, with solutions available for individuals.