Have you received a CCJ?
Are you worried about debts, concerned about creditor action and feeling the pressure…?
We can help you by:
- Stopping creditor action, freezing interest on the balance of the debt.
- Ensuring you pay only what you can afford.
- Helping you become debt free.
A County Court Judgement or CCJ, as it is more commonly referred to, is a Court Order issued against you if you fail to pay back a debt to a creditor. It is an instruction from the Court to repay an amount owing to a third party.
Why would I receive a CCJ?
If you have an unpaid bill, and you ignore reminder letters and phone calls. Eventually, the creditor to whom the money is owed loses patience and takes you to Court. A CCJ should never come as a surprise, as your creditor should have already forewarned you by issuing a “default notice” or “letter before action”.
There will be a hearing when the Judge will consider the evidence and if he or she agrees the claim is valid, a CCJ will be issued against you. Similarly, if you simply chose not to attend Court or respond to the claim, a CCJ will be issued against you by default. If you don’t feel the claim is valid or you want to challenge the amount owed, then you need to make representations to the Court (see below).
How do I know the CCJ is real? (what to look for)
The CCJ takes the form of a letter from the County Court which made the judgement. It will be on the Court’s headed notepaper and bear an official stamp. As mentioned above you should have received prior warning before the issue of a CCJ.
If a CCJ pops through your door, here’s what you can do:
- Pay up. If you settle the CCJ within thirty days, it will be wiped from your records. Delay, and it’ll be on there for up to six years.
- Arrange a payment plan. If you’re able to pay, but can’t do so in full within the thirty days, you can provide details of your personal finances in order to ascertain payments you can afford. The CCJ will remain on your records for six years.
- ‘Set aside’ the CCJ. If you believe there are details within the case which are incorrect or non-factual, you can contest them and ask the Court to effectively ‘pause’ the CCJ. However, there is an administrative cost, and you must have very good reasons for asking for it to be set aside.
- Ignore the CCJ. It is not advisable! Expect further court action and stress, if you choose this route. Please read section“What if I ignore the CCJ” to find out more.
- Counter-claim. If you think the claim is incorrect and that you’re the one owed money, you can make a counter-claim against the CCJ. The Court will review your claim and either uphold or throw it out. Be sure to have a strong case by producing and documenting evidence – not doing so can elongate the process and increase the length of time the CCJ is on your records.
I’ve heard I can pay to have my CCJ removed. Is that true?
No, if the CCJ is genuine there is no way to remove it from public records. These are closely monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As mentioned above in points 1 and 3, a CCJ can only be removed from your record if it is repaid within 30 days, or ‘set aside’. Otherwise the CCJ will remain on your record for 6 years.
What if I simply cannot afford to pay the CCJ?
The sensible and best option is to take professional advice – the sooner the better. Chances are that if you have a CCJ there are probably other unpaid bills, credit card accounts as well as unpaid rent or mortgage arrears. If that is the case you may be concerned about losing the roof over your head. No matter how bad things seem, there are ways of managing financial problems which don’t necessarily involve losing your home or facing bankruptcy. Doing nothing other than worrying about the problem will achieve nothing, and financial matters won’t improve. On a personal level, money worries can result in sleepless nights, stress on personal relationships at home and at work and cause damage to your health – so it makes sense to be proactive and seek advice.
What if I ignore the CCJ?
Ignoring the Court Order could result in the creditor taking further action which could include:
- Bailiff action – the seizure of your belongings in settlement of the debt
- Attachment of earnings – a Court Order addressed to your employers instructing them to deduct a regular amount from your wages and send it to the Court for onward transmission to the creditor, until the debt is repaid. Obviously your employer would then become aware of your financial position.
- Charging order – if you own your home the Court may agree to a Charging Order. This is similar in nature to a mortgage in that if you sell your house, the net sale proceeds after repaying the mortgage(s) will be used to settle the debt to which the Charging Order relates. Effectively it prevents you selling your home without repaying the debt (unless the house is in negative equity). In some cases, the creditor can approach the Court to try to repossess your home.
- Garnishee Order – these are quite rare but in the case of an individual, a Garnishee Order would most usually be issued to your bank. On the day it arrives the bank is ordered to pay an amount to the Court in settlement of the debt. For this to be effective there has to be a credit balance. A Garnishee Order will not attach to an unused overdraft or credit limit and is only effective on the day it arrives. But this could cause you severe problems if it were to arrive just after your pay arrives into your bank account.
How will the CCJ affect my rating?
CCJs stay on public record for six years and this has a negative impact on your credit rating. If you have one or more recent CCJs you may find it difficult (or impossible) to obtain credit cards, raise credit or hire purchase for larger purchases, or arrange a mortgage. If you are successful it is likely to be at a higher interest rate than if your credit history had been clean.
Find your local county court
Final thought on CCJs
The advice on how to deal with County Court Judgements is amongst the simplest when it comes to financial affairs; if you have no solid reason to contest it, you must comply. If you are able to source funds to pay up within thirty days, do so, and you’ll never have to experience the incredible inconvenience of having a CCJ on your credit file. If you are unable to repay it don’t ignore it – speak to one of our consultants now for free, confidential advice.