What is a CCJ?
A County Court judgment (CCJ) is a court order telling you to pay a debt. Obtaining one is an action a creditor can take as part of the debt collection process.
To get a CCJ in favour of a debt, the creditor makes a Money Claim which in turn causes you to be sent a Claim Form by the Court.
Don’t Ignore A Money Claim. Otherwise, the CCJ gets awarded by default. You have 14 days to respond, extendable upon request to 28 days. You can respond to a money claim online.
Responding to the claim
If you make an acceptable offer, the Court issues a CCJ saying how to make payments.
If your offer is not acceptable, the Court issues a CCJ to pay a sum they decide. You can ask the Court to reconsider if, in your view, the repayments are unaffordable.
Please note: either way – a judgement is made, and a CCJ issued.
How can I stop the issuing of the judgment?
There are three ways to stop the CCJ after receiving a money claim:-
- To repay the debt in full within the time limit to return the claim form.
- To defend the claim by proving you do not own the money.
- To reach an agreement with the creditor, a condition of which is to stop legal action before the CCJ is awarded.
After the judgment is issued
The CCJ will detail the terms of the repayment you are now formally required to make.
If you do not stick to these terms, your creditor can ask the Court for further measures to get you to pay, including but not limited to:-
A charging order works by securing an unsecured debt against your property or other assets.
A Warrant of Control instructs a county court bailiff to try to seize and sell your possessions to pay the debt.
An Attachment of Earning instructs your employer to pay some of your wages directly to the Court.
This allows a creditor to get the money you owe them directly from your bank or whoever is holding money for you.
CCJs & Your Credit Rating
If you get a county (or high court judgment), it stays on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for six years.
Banks and loan companies use this information to decide whether to give you credit or loans.
If you pay within one month
If you pay the full amount within a month, the judgment can be removed from the register.
If you pay after one month
If you pay later than one month, you can get the judgment marked as satisfied in the register. It will stay on the record for six years but shows you’ve paid.
CCJ issued in error
You can apply to have a CCJ removed. There is a fee payable, and you need to prove a genuine reason such an error by the Court or creditor, such as you did not owe the money. Failing to inform the creditor of your current address and claiming ignorance of the money claim is not grounds for removal.
I can’t afford the payments required by the CCJ
If you could pay – but just need more time, you can ask for more time. But if you have this and other debts you are struggling to afford – you need to get professional advice