Here are some signs that you may have a County Court Judgement (CCJ), and what CCJ help is available.
A court order arrives in the mail.
- The creditor requests payment from you.
- A credit report is one of the places you might see it – usually after you are turned down for credit unexpectedly.
A court judgment ordering you to pay money to someone else is known as a CCJ. In 2021, there were around 958,000 CCJs filed against consumers in England and Wales. A CCJ is not a criminal offence. You won’t be imprisoned if you don’t have the funds to pay this sum of money.
If you ignore a County Court Judgement, after court action your creditor may send high court enforcement officers to your home or try to have money taken from your wages. If you act promptly, these problems can frequently be avoided.
Depending on whether you owe the money and if you can afford to pay it, what you need to do now is different. The most typical situations are discussed in this article and where to get the relevant debt advice. Its worth noting that a CCJ will affect your credit file and credit rating through the credit reference agencies.
Do you know the details of the CCJ?
If you receive a Court letter with “Judgment for Claimant” on the top, then you have received a County Court Judgment (CCJ). This means that somebody has taken you to court and won their case against you for money owed. If no response was given to court papers, or if they were never received in the first place, this letter will say “Judgement for Claimant (in default)”.
Be cautious if the letter begins with County Court Claim Form; you do not yet have a County Court Judgment. A creditor is taking you to court in an attempt to obtain a CCJ, even if you don’t owe money or your debt is very old. Even if you don’t owe money or the debt is ancient, you will receive a CCJ and subsequent court action if you do nothing with it affecting your credit rating.
You will receive a letter with all the County Court Judgement details including who the creditor is, how much you owe, and
- You are also required to pay the debt immediately, which is known as a “forthwith judgment.”
- a payment plan, called instalments, have been set.
The creditor may have contacted you already and can give you the details, or you can ask the court for a copy of them. Maybe it was sent to an old address, not your current address.
If you discover a CCJ by checking your credit report or are told that a credit application or tenancy has been refused because your records show you have a CCJ, the first thing you must do is find out more information about it.
Five common situations
Mrs White – owes the money and can pay it
Mrs White had a dispute with a builder over some work and an unpaid bill. He sued her, she defended the claim because she said it should be lower. The judge accepted this so she got a judgment for an amount that she agrees she owes. She can pay it in full, so choose to settle the debt for less than what is owed.
The full amount of the order should be paid as soon as possible. Mrs White should send a cheque to “Name and Address for Payment” on the form or call them to obtain bank information if she wishes to make a transfer from her bank.
The CCJ entry may be cancelled if it is paid within a month from the filing date. The Register of Judgments, Fines and Defaults will be updated to remove the judgement.
Mr Black – agrees he owes the money but can’t pay it all at once
When his income decreased, Mr Black ceased paying back a loan. He didn’t reply to the Claim form because he was concerned about not being able to pay off the debt. He feels that he can afford to pay £70 each month.
Mr Black must next apply to the court for an installment order, also known as a “varying judgment” or “application for an Instalment Order.”
The charge is £50. If Mr Black is unemployed or on a low income, he may apply online for this to be lowered.
If Mr Black is unsure how much he should list for housekeeping or how much he can afford to pay each month, he should contact us.
If Mr. Black had admitted the debt using an admission form and offered to make monthly payments, he might be in a better position now.
Ms Pink – has a lot of debts and isn’t sure what she can afford
Since losing her job a year ago, Ms. Pink has been unable to pay off any of her credit card debt. She is barely scraping by on JSA and other collectors are threatening County Court Judgments and bailiffs.
Ms Pink requires immediate debt assistance. She might offer monthly payments to the CCJ, like Mr Black – her repayment would be minimal, perhaps £5 a month.
Contacting Become Debt Free is a smart move to get help with her overall financial situation, not just the CCJ.
Dr Blue – didn’t receiver the original papers in time and disputes the debt
Upon returning from her trip, Dr Blue finds that a judgment has already been made – one she doesn’t agree with. She claims it isn’t unpaid debt and the loan was paid off years ago and should not owe any more money.
Blue follows up with a request for the court’s ruling to be “set aside” since it is fresh, she has a reason for not returning the original court papers, and she has a defence against the action.
When the judgement is set aside, the case remains in place; it simply returns to the point before the judgment so Dr Blue will need to file a Defence.
Mr Brown – has just found out he received a CCJ a year ago
Mr Brown moved a couple of years ago and didn’t tell his creditors his new address. He was recently refused a new mobile contract. When he checked his credit score, he discovered he has a CCJ for a credit card that he had stopped paying.
Next Steps Mr Brown wants to get rid of the CCJ as he never received the court papers. However, he doesn’t seem to have a good reason to defend the claim and he should have informed his creditors when he moved.
If you don’t have a defence, there is little point in trying to set aside the judgment. If he gets the CCJ set aside, the creditor will just apply for a new CCJ, which will be on his credit record for longer. This is a waste of time and money.
Instead Mr Brown should work out if he can afford to pay the full debt (like Mrs White) or if he should apply to make a monthly payment (like Mr Black.)
More complicated cases
If you’re having trouble paying off your debts, it may not be one of these situations or there could be additional problems. The debt, for example, might be a shared liability.
We are an excellent source of advice on all matters relating to CCJs. If you don’t know what to do, or you would like to check to be sure, contact a debt adviser on 0113 237 9503 or leave an enquiry on our home page.