What is a County Court Judgement (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgement, also referred to as a CCJ or County Court Summons, is a type of court order in the UK that can be registered against an individual or business if they fail to pay money they owe.
Before a CCJ is instigated, a warning letter must be sent to inform the debtor of the amount they owe, when they need to make payment by and the consequences of non-payment. If there is no response, then legal action will begin. It is highly advised to seek legal advice if you are looking to request a County Court Judgement as well as if you are served one.
The party owing the money has 14 days to respond to the claim form. The debtor may file a defence if they disagree with the amount they owe or admit to the claim. If they accept the claim but state that they cannot afford a lump sum, they will also need to submit details about their income and expenditure. This is so individual circumstances can be considered to decide the best way for the debt to be repaid.
The court will then issue a judgement by instalments, where the debtor will pay the debt off over time, or a judgement forthwith, where the whole amount will immediately be due. If the payments are more than the debtor can reasonably afford, they can ask the court to reconsider the amount. This is called a redetermination.
The CCJ process has different rules depending on whether you have met certain timescales.
If the debtor does not keep to the terms of the CCJ, the creditor can ask the court to enforce the debt. This can be done by:
- Instructing the High Court Enforcement Officer. This is an effective way of enforcing the judgement as many debtors do not want their possessions to be removed and sold to repay their debt
- Charging Order against the debtor’s property
- Attachments of Earnings Order. This is where the money will be deducted directly from the debtor’s wages.
How does a CCJ affect your credit record?
A CCJ will be entered onto the debtor’s credit record at the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines unless it is paid off in full within 30 days of being ordered. It will remain on their credit record for six years.
This can seriously affect the individual’s credit score. Credit information is checked by lenders when applying for credit meaning a CCJ will affect the debtor’s ability to get a loan, credit card or even a bank account. As well as these, Employers and Letting agents may check your credit report or request you to declare any adverse credit before they hire you or allow you to rent a property.
Our Debt Collection team deal with a wide range of matters relating to CCJ’s and offer a friendly and professional service.
If you would like to discuss any points in this article further or are looking for legal advice relating to a CCJ, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01953 453143.