If you receive a County Court Judgement (CCJ), in most cases, the best practice is to repay it as soon as possible, thus avoiding further creditor action. However, there may be certain situations in which you might feel you have a legitimate reason for not paying a CCJ. In those circumstances, there are several ways to challenge a CCJ and attempt to have it removed.
How long do I have to pay a CCJ?
The letter from the court will contain a date by which you’ll need to pay the specified amount. Usually, this date will be 30 days after the date the court issued the judgement. Before paying, you’ll have 14 days from the date printed on the statement of the amount owed to return the admission or defence form to the creditor.
Can a CCJ be removed?
If you owe the amount specified in the judgement, you should try to repay that amount in full as soon as possible. The court which issued the CCJ will send you a letter containing a statement for the amount owed, along with the admission and defence forms. If you receive these forms, you should complete them as appropriate and return them to the creditor.
How to challenge a CCJ
If you have a legitimate reason not to pay the amount stated in the judgement, you can challenge the CCJ to have it removed from your credit file.
If your personal or business finances mean you’ll find it difficult to repay the amount requested by the creditor, you can fill in an N245 form. This form allows you to apply for a suspension of the warrant or request alterations to the payment plan to better suit your circumstances. There may be a court fee to apply for this, though, which will depend on the issuing court.
How we can help
Whatever your circumstances, it’s imperative you deal with a CCJ that arrives at your premises or address as quickly as possible. Doing so may seem like an intimidating task for those unfamiliar with the process, and the fees involved can sometimes be too much for fledgeling companies and individuals lacking the funds.
- Free, confidential advice
If you’re struggling to pay a CCJ or can’t afford to challenge a CCJ one you don’t owe, speak to us without delay. Our consultants and insolvency practitioners have many years of experience in the industry and can advise the best way forward for you or your business. All our advice is free and impartial, with no obligation.
- Alternative repayment solutions
If you’re unable to get a CCJ against your company set aside, and you’re unable to repay the amount immediately, you can apply for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). These are formal arrangements between you and your creditors, allowing you to repay your debts in monthly instalments at a rate tailored to what you can afford.
Read more about Company Voluntary Arrangements
- Personal repayment solutions
If the CCJ is for personal debt, a similar arrangement exists for sole traders and individuals. These are called Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and are designed to help individuals pay off their unsecured debts in affordable monthly instalments.
More on Individual Voluntary Arrangements
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is issued to encourage you to repay what you owe; otherwise, you could risk further action from creditors. To remove the judgement from your credit file, you can pay it in full within 30 days of its issuing. However, if you don’t feel you owe the amount specified, you can challenge a CCJ and apply to have the judgement ‘set aside’. You can also request alterations to the payment plan to make it more affordable. The approval or rejection of the requested removal or amendments is at the issuing court’s discretion.
A limited company is classed as a separate legal entity to its directors and shareholders, so if the CCJ is tied to that company, in most circumstances, you as director will not become personally liable for the company’s debts.
More on personal liability
As a CCJ is not a criminal offence, it cannot force you to repay any debt. However, creditors can act as soon as the CCJ is issued. Whether they choose to is at their discretion. Creditors can send debt collectors, bailiffs, or High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs). Alternatively, they may apply for an ‘attachment of earnings’, which will take part of your salary or benefits until your debt is repaid.
More action creditors can take to recover what you owe
If you pay the debt in full within 30 days, the CCJ will appear as ‘satisfied’ on your credit file. You should apply to the court to update the status of your CCJ. Your ability to get credit may still be affected as even a satisfied CCJ can make lenders reluctant to lend you capital, making it harder to get the best rates.
If you legitimately don’t owe the money to the claimant, you shouldn’t fill out any of the paperwork the court sent you. Instead, you could appeal to the court to dispute the judgement or have it ‘set aside’. You can use the N245 form for this.
If a CCJ is set aside, it is temporarily suspended, allowing the courts more time to consider your application. You’ll attend a private hearing to present your case to the court. Failing to attend this hearing will result in your application being rejected.
If a creditor is rightfully demanding you repay an amount you owe, you should pay it back within the allocated time. However, there are certain situations where you’ll have a legitimate reason for not repaying a CCJ.
More that can happen if you don’t pay a CCJ
Book a free telephone consultation with one of our initial advisers