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What is a CCJ?

A CCJ (County Court Judgement) is a court order which is issued against you when you fail to pay a debt owing to a creditor. The issuing of a CCJ is an instruction from the court for you to repay the debt owed. An example of this would be an unpaid bill where you ignore all reminders from your provider. After a while, your creditor is likely to lose patience with you; this is when they apply for a court order.

How will I know if I have a CCJ registered against me or my company?

You can check your credit rating to see if any judgements have been made against you. Alternatively, you can search the Register of Judgements. On the register, there are details of any judgements made against you. This costs a small fee of £4 for a simple search.

How long do I have to respond/act?

If you respond to the CCJ and pay off the balance in full, then it will be removed from your credit rating. However, if you ignore this, it may result in your creditor taking further action against you.

How do I pay back the money owed?

You must first complete the necessary forms if you are liable for the debt for which you have received a CCJ (N1 and N9A forms). There may be a monthly payment amount specified with the paperwork you receive, and if you are happy to pay that, you can start to do so. However, to negotiate a larger or smaller amount, you will need to get in touch with your creditor.

How do I appeal if I think I have been wrongly accused?

To dispute a court order, you should fill in an N9B form that you receive with your initial CCJ paperwork. This is a defence form to dispute the court order and claims. You may also want to get in touch with an insolvency practice, solicitor or your accountant at this point to decide how to proceed in your defence. You can find out more about this on the government’s website.

I have agreed a repayment plan with my provider/supplier, but I can no longer afford to pay this. What should I do?

If you can no longer afford your monthly repayments, you should get in touch with your creditors as soon as possible. By making them aware of your circumstances, they will be more likely to come to an arrangement to vary the monthly amount paid. By not informing your creditors, you risk serious action being taken against you, including sending in bailiffs, an attachment of earnings or a charging order.

How do I deal with bailiffs?

A bailiff is instructed by a creditor to enforce a debt, repossess goods under hire purchase, a conditional sale agreement or by a landlord to carry out an eviction. They have the power to repossess your property or take your possessions for sale. Bailiffs are only sent to your property if you fail to maintain payments towards a CCJ without informing your creditor.

You do not have to let bailiffs into your home or business, and they cannot use force to enter the premises. After peaceful entry, they will make a list of assets to seize before collecting at a later date. Once inside your property, they have right of access to all rooms.

Once you have received a notice telling you a bailiff is going to call, you should get in touch with your creditor to negotiate repayment. If you are able to come to an agreement at this point, it could halt the bailiff from visiting your property. However, if you cannot afford to repay, then you should take advice from Action Credit.

What are CCJ defaults?

A CCJ default is the term used to describe when you fail to keep to the repayment agreement you have made with your creditors. If you default on a payment, you should get in touch with your creditor as soon as possible to discuss this issue and resolve it as quickly as possible.

What does CCJ ‘set aside’ mean?

A CCJ ‘set aside’ is to overturn the court order that has been taken out against you. You can do this if you dispute the court order. If you have the CCJ set aside, it will be removed from your credit rating.

When will a CCJ clear from my credit rating?

If you repay a CCJ within 30 days, then the CCJ will be removed from your credit rating as soon as possible. If you enter into a repayment plan, the CCJ will remain on your credit file for six years. However, if you ignore a CCJ and further action is taken against you, then this could have a bigger impact on your credit rating.

Why is a CCJ issued?

A CCJ is not usually issued without prior warning. Your creditor should have already warned you about this by issuing a default notice or ‘letter before action’. CCJ’s are issued for unpaid debts when other options have been exhausted.

A CCJ was issued without my knowledge, what do I do?

If you have not previously been informed that your creditor is trying to obtain money from you or that they are looking into applying for a CCJ, you should make sure you check the paperwork to ensure it is genuine. It can take some time for paperwork to be received so if you have missed payments before, it is worth checking your credit rating or the Register of Judgements to deal with the CCJ as quickly as possible.

How do I issue a CCJ?

If someone owes you or your company money, and you have not been able to reclaim it by any other method, you can apply to obtain a CCJ. You apply to the county court for a judgement against your debtor to claim the money. The court then decides whether there is a debt to pay. If there is, they will issue a CCJ which will set out how the debt is to be repaid.

Authored by Lisa Hogg

Lisa Hogg

Director & Licensed Insolvency Practitioner