Once a creditor has obtained a CCJ, they can apply to the County Court for a Charging Order. A creditor cannot enforce a CCJ without taking court action. This article explains what a CCJ is and what the process of getting a CCJ involves.
You should also read this article on how a CCJ will affect you.
What is a CCJ?
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) means that the court has agreed that the debt is owed and that you must pay it. If you just stop paying it then the company that is owed the money can go back to court and ask for collection by alternative methods, bailiffs or attachment of earnings being just a couple of examples.
What is the process of a CCJ?
If someone owes you money you can follow the small claims process in the County Court, which could result in them receiving a CCJ if they are unable to pay back what they owe. Before you can be given a CCJ, your creditor needs to send you a County Court claim letter (or a letter of claim) in the post. You have around 2 weeks to respond to this. Failure to respond could result in further enforcement action, such as bailiffs and you could be asked to pay back the debt at a higher rate than affordable. If you need help completing the forms, please see our guidance on completing CCJ forms.
Once you have completed the form, it is up to the creditor to accept your offer. If they accept your offer, they will ask the court to set up CCJ payments at the amount you stated. If the creditor disagrees with your payment rate, they will send the form to the court, for them to make the decision. At this point, it is up to the court to decide which amount is suitable for you to pay. You may be summoned to the court for questioning, so the court can understand your situation better.
How much will I pay towards my CCJ?
Generally speaking, the amount you pay towards the CCJ will depend on your income, expenditure and any other debts that you are repaying. Your CCJ will outline a monthly required payment it is important to maintain the payments if possible to avoid defaulting on the CCJ.
If a creditor has made a mistake, perhaps not followed the correct process, then you can request that the judgment is set aside. Perhaps you have changed address, notified the creditor and they have sent papers to your old, incorrect address then the court may allow this when you provide proof. If you want to set aside a judgement, you must do this quickly after the original judgement, otherwise, it will not be accepted. If you wish to get the judgement varied which may help in making the repayments more affordable than you need to complete an N245 form.
This will not alter your liability for the debt itself, this will still need to be dealt with and the creditor may issue another claim form without any errors. If you agree with the debt then you will need to come to an arrangement to pay, this could be in one payment or by paying in regular payments at an affordable amount until the debt is paid. If you need assistance in coming to an arrangement for this, and any other debts you may have, you can contact a free debt advice charity and go through in greater detail.
For more information, please visit Trust Online, the official Keeper of the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines.
Will I be informed about a CCJ?
You should get letters in the mail about the CCJ. If you moved addresses recently, then this information could have been sent to your previous address. In the case that this is incorrect you may need to make a complaint or request for it to be set aside. If you contact a debt adviser they will be able to discuss further and establish how best to proceed. Please note if you do have debt to repay and if the creditors have not received a response or any communication from you, then they could have moved forward with court action. It could be that this needs dealing with some form of arrangement to pay.
How to transfer a CCJ?
If this original debt was jointly owed to the creditor and each party have a judgement that requires all of the debt to be repaid then you will not be able to transfer this. This arrangement to pay the debt over a period of time has also been agreeable to the creditor and the court. If you pay your share of the debt and the other parties involved pay nothing, all parties (including you) will be chased for the remainder of the debt. There will be no need for creditors to chase you if you are maintaining the payments in accordance with the order.
I have a CCJ I know nothing about – Is there a CCJ against me?
Most CCJs will appear on the register of judgements and fines. This does not contain details of the claimant but this will be available from the relevant county court. Your credit report will also list the CCJs. Again you will need to contact each of the courts and request full details of the debts. You will then be able to contact the creditors concerned to help establish further information.
Locating further details of the County Court Judgments will define how best to proceed. You may identify that there is an error at the very first stage, there may be no debt and therefore there should never have been a judgment. It may be that there was a debt and that the judgment should not have been given and you will then be able to repay the debt itself and ask for the judgment to be set aside. It may identify that there was a debt and that the judgment was correct and still needs to be satisfied.
Help with Statutory Demand – How long until I am made bankrupt once a creditor has obtained a CCj?
You would need to check with the creditor and ask what their intentions are. A statutory demand that is not responded to can result in a petition for bankruptcy and it is bad practice to use the statutory demand as a tactic to get someone to pay when they do not have any intention of issuing a bankruptcy petition.
It could be that they are never going to petition for your bankruptcy and this may be that you would have to petition for your own bankruptcy or make an application. It could be that a Debt Relief Order is appropriate rather than bankruptcy. If you want to discuss bankruptcy and how it may be beneficial or have consequences that are specific to your situation then you will need to speak to a debt advisor.
I live in Scotland, will I get a CCJ against me?
You will not get a CCJ if you live in Scotland. The county court does not have any jurisdiction there. If you live in Scotland, the creditor will have to sue you in your home court, which will be your local sheriff court. A debt adviser will be able to assist you in defending this claim.
Take a look at our article on the differences between a CCJ and bankruptcy for more useful information.