What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a legal decision handed down to anyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who fails to pay back the money they owe. Any such alleged debtor will have to respond back within fourteen days upon receiving notification about the impending County Court case. The debtor can pay the money, admit owing the money, deny owing it or go to the court hearing. But if the court receives no response, judgement will be granted against the debtor.
If no payment is received in response to a Country Court Judgement, charging orders will be applied by the creditor and the debt will be secured on a property of the debtor. An attachment of earnings can also be applied by the creditor that will oblige the employer of the debtor to deduct a portion of their salary and forward them to the court. The court may also give third-party debt order under which a third party holding the money belonging to the debtor would have to pay off the debt. The Court may also appoint a County Court bailiff who has the power to seize and sell or auction goods of the debtor to settle a debt.
If a CCJ is not paid in full within thirty days, it will be kept in record by the register and credit reference agencies (CRAs) for six years. There is no way to expunge such record. Such records can be checked by anybody by paying a small fee. Potential creditors checks CRAs records ahead of offering credit. Applicants who have a CCJ on record will find it difficult to obtain finance. However, there are lenders who lend to people despite CCJs, but usually on unfavourable and expensive terms. Regular repayment to the court will gradually lessen the negative remarks on the credit rating and on complete repayment record of CCJ can be removed by submitting an application to the Register.
Once you receive a County Court Claim you can opt for debt advice service. Prior to receiving the County Court Claim, creditors will send you warning to let you know that repayment is due and legal action will be taken if you fail to pay back. The notice provided to you by the court will tell you how you can remedy the default and also about the action that will taken against you if you do not repay.
You should get advice immediately after you have received a warning letter from the creditor. It will help you to deal with the situation and your circumstances will be taken into account by the court. Seeking debt advice services will help you to negotiate with your creditor. After receiving the Claim Form, you will need to fill in the reply form with details about your incoming and outgoings and submit it within 14 days.
After the Court notifies the amount of money you have to pay off the debt, you have a few options. If you disagree with the amount of money you owe you can file a defence. If you admit the claim you will need to fill in a form with the details of your financial circumstances and make an offer of payment. If you intend to defend the claim you can submit an acknowledgement of service.
The court may either issue a judgement to repay the debts in instalments over time or forthwith, where you will need to pay back the whole amount in one go. Monthly rate of debt will be set by the court and will be based on the provided information. If the court receives no response they will not be able to take your circumstances into account and a judgment in default will be made against you. It might be either a judgment by instalments or a judgment forthwith. If you are unable to afford the repayment you can request the Court to look at the matter again. This process is called a redetermination.
Failure to pay off a CCJ will affect your ability to get a mortgage, a credit card, another loan or even a bank account. Seek help from debt adviser if you are struggling to make your repayments. They will explain you the various options available and also make an offer to your creditors. In order to avoid bad credit rating and court action, it is recommended that loan repayments are made on time and debts are paid off early. Opt for monetary assistance only if you can afford the repayment.