Understanding a county court judgment
A County Court Judgment, which is often abbreviated as a CCJ, is a court order that can be registered against someone who fails to repay money that they owe. The CCJ states the amount of money owed and how and by when it should be paid.
I have received a default notice; what should I do?
A default notice may be issued if you have missed at least three payments on a debt that is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act.
It will state the kind of agreement that you made with your creditor; the terms of the agreement that have been broken; how much you now need to pay and by when you must pay it. You will be given 14 days to respond.
It will also provide advice from the Office of Fair Trading on how you should proceed.
If you are unable to pay the debt then you should complete the 'Income and Expenditure' part of the reply form showing all of your income and your outgoings. This will be taken into consideration by the court when it assesses your ability to pay the debt.
You can also make an offer to pay part or all of the debt over a timescale that you know that you can keep to. If the court accepts that, then it will issue a CCJ to that effect. If the court rejects your offer then it will issue a CCJ which states the amount the court believes you should repay. Often debt management could come in handy in these situations.
I have received a default notice on money that I don’t owe.
If you don’t believe that you own the money, or if you think the amount is incorrect, then you should fill in the reply form stating this and giving your reasons. If you need legal advice, speak to one of our CCJ solicitors.
What happens after I have replied to the default notice?
If the court is satisfied that you owe the money then it will issue a CCJ stating how much you must repay and the timescale for repaying it.
I have received a CCJ but I didn’t receive a default notice.
If you received a CCJ but didn’t receive a default notice giving you 14 days to reply, then you can apply to the court to have the CCJ cancelled or ‘set aside’ by the court. You will have to fill in a form called a N244 and pay a court fee of £80.
You will also have to attend a court hearing.
I have failed to meet the terms of a CCJ. What happens next?
If you do not satisfy a CCJ then the creditor is likely to apply to court for a warrant of execution. This empowers the bailiff to collect the money from you or to seize possessions from you which will be sold to repay the debt.
Alternatively the court may impose an Attachment of Earnings Order which will require your employer to make direct deductions from your wages to be paid to the court.
I can’t afford to pay the CCJ. How do I prevent the bailiff coming round?
If you can’t afford the terms set out on the CCJ then you can apply to the court for the payment terms to be changed. You will need to make a statement showing all of your income and your outgoings and suggest an alternative repayment plan. You will also need to pay a court fee of £40.
The court may decide to accept your offer, to adhere to the original CCJ, or to impose an alternative payment plan.
Will a CCJ affect my credit rating?
A CCJ will have a significant impact on your credit rating and unless satisfied within 30 days it will remain on your credit record for 6 years. This will make it very difficult for you to borrow any money, obtain a credit card, or a mortgage.
There are many agencies that can provide free help to people with debts that they can’t afford to repay. These include:
- The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
- StepChange Debt Charity or free phone 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline or free phone 0808 808 4000
- Debt Advice Foundation or free phone 0800 043 40 50
- Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
If you are in danger of losing your home and you qualify for legal advice, then you can also get help from Civil Legal Advice.
Debt is never an easy problem to face up to, but the earlier you do so the better you situation will be. If you wish to speak to a solicitor about a CCJ, then suggest you speak to one of our local QualitySolicitors with experience in dealing with debt problems.