A County Court Judgement (CCJ) can have a detrimental effect on your business and its credit rating. If you’re unfamiliar with these judgements, understanding all the intricacies can be daunting, and you may have questions if you’ve received one, or you’re thinking of issuing against a debtor.
A County Court Judgement is issued by a county court to encourage the repayment of debt. While a CCJ cannot force the debtor to repay the amount, it can lead to creditors taking further action to reclaim their monies.
More information on County Court Judgements
You can check your credit rating to see if any judgements have been made against you. Alternatively, you can contact us or search the Register of Judgements. On the register, there are details of any judgements made against you; there is a fee of £6 for a single search of CCJs in England and Wales.
If you respond to the CCJ and pay off the balance in full within the time limit specified in the judgement (usually 30 days from the issuing date), 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.
The CCJ will contain forms for you to fill out: N1 and N9A forms. If you are liable for the debt, you must first complete the forms and return them to the court. 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 to deal with a County Court Judgement
To dispute a court order, you should fill in an N9B defence form that’s included with your initial CCJ paperwork, or an N224 form if the judgement has already been issued. You can contact a 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.
How you can remove or challenge a CCJ
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’re more likely to come to an arrangement to vary the monthly payments. By not informing your creditors, you risk serious action being taken against you, including the potential of sending bailiffs, an attachment of earnings or a charging order.
If you’ve been unable to reach a new arrangement, contact us, and we can advise you the best way forward.
What can happen if you don’t pay a CCJ
Having a CCJ ‘set aside’ is another way of saying ‘overturning’ the judgement. You can do this if you challenge the court order. If you’re successful in applying to have the CCJ set aside, it will be removed from your credit rating.
If you repay a CCJ within 30 days, then the CCJ will be removed from your credit rating. 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 more substantial impact on your credit rating.
More ways a CCJ can affect you personally
A CCJ is not usually issued without prior warning, and your creditor should have already informed you of the court order by issuing a default notice or ‘letter before action’. CCJ’s are issued for unpaid debts when other options have been exhausted.
If you haven’t been informed that your creditor is trying to reclaim money or that they’re considering 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 come, so if you have missed payments before, it is worth checking your credit rating or the Register of Judgements to deal with the CCJ quickly.
A Warrant of Control can be issued by the County Court and allows enforcement agents to visit a debtor, where they can either collect any owed monies or take goods equal to the debt’s value, which will be sold at auction. If the debts exceed £5,000, the creditor must apply to the High Court for a Writ of Control.
CCJs can be included in Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA), and their equivalent for limited companies: Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA). Both are formal arrangements which consolidate unsecured debts into a single monthly payment, the amount of which is tailored to what you can afford. These arrangements halt all creditor action and threats, including bailiffs, and at the end of the arrangement, all unpaid debt is written off.
More information on Individual Voluntary Arrangements
More information on Company Voluntary Arrangements
Finding out you have a CCJ filed against you or your company can be an unpleasant, sometimes scary experience; especially when your creditors begin to act, and the bailiffs start showing up. The important thing to remember is that there are solutions designed to help you in this situation. We are here to provide free advice to achieve the outcome you desire. Whether that is via a formal payment plan to repay the debt in an affordable manner, or to close your company and allow you to start again through a different legal entity, we’ll help you find the best outcome for you and your business.
Ways we can help you with a County Court Judgement
Book a free telephone consultation with one of our initial advisers