What is a CCJ?
A CCJ (County Court Judgment) is a filing that a county court can issue when you owe money to someone. The Court will determine whether you are in debt to this person. If the court finds that you are, they will issue a CCJ which will outline how the debt should be paid back.
What happens next?
When a creditor (someone who is owed money) takes County Court action, you will be sent a ‘CCJ Claim Form’. This claim form will detail how much money is owed.
Alongside the claim form, you will also be sent an ‘Admission Form’, this form allows you to put your side of the story across before the final decision of the CCJ is made by the court.
What are my options?
You have a few options available to you when you receive a CCJ:-
Pay in full
If you feel as though the CCJ is a valid claim, you can opt to pay in full, straight away (including any interest and court fees). This is a recommended option if you feel the claim is fair and reasonable. This method is advantageous, as it means that you don’t have to attend a court hearing, return any forms, or have a CCJ recorded against you.
Ask to pay in instalments
If you cannot afford to pay in full, you can fill out the admission form, outlining how you would like to pay and send it back to the court. In this case, an official CCJ will be issued against you and you will be expected to pay back the debt according to the agreed payment structure.
Dispute the claim
If you disagree with the claim and feel you do not owe any money, you can file a dispute against the CCJ. You can do this by filling out the ‘Defence Form’, detailing why you feel as though the claim is unjustified.
If you need more time to do this, you can also fill out and return the ‘Acknowledgment of Service Form’ which tells the court you have received the CCJ and will respond with your defence at a later date.
Dispute the amount of money
If you think the claim is justified but the amount owed is less than what is stated, you can respond to the court explaining how much you believe is owed and why.
As a best practice, you should then proceed to pay the amount that you believe is owed straight away or ask for time to pay it.
Make a counterclaim
If you believe that you are owed money as opposed to the other way round (for example a builder claiming you haven’t paid and you believe they’ve breached a contract), you can fill out a counterclaim form (this may incur a fee from the court to submit so check before doing so).
The Court will make a decision
The court will then deliberate and ultimately decide on who is in the right. If they decide that you are in the right then the claim will continue. If it is determined that the creditor is in the right then a formal CCJ will be issued and you will be expected to pay the full amount claimed.
NEVER IGNORE THE CLAIM OR MISS THE DEADLINE
This will lead to a default judgment being issued, which prevents you from putting your side of the story across and could result in you being made to pay the amount owed in full at once.
Will a CCJ affect my credit score?
Having a CCJ against you is likely to negatively affect your credit score, as it is seen as evidence of you being unable or unwilling to repay debt.
This will be on your credit record for six years from the date of the judgment, even if the debt was eventually repaid.
Can a CCJ be removed from my record?
Any CCJ’s on your record will be automatically removed after six years, you can, however, apply for them to be removed if you paid it off within one month of it being issued.
If you pay it off more than one month after it was issued, then you can provide the court with proof of payment and request that it gets marked as ‘satisfied’ on your report. CCJ’s not marked as ‘satisfied’ are automatically marked as ‘unsatisfied’ on your record until proof of payment is given to the court.
Having an ‘unsatisfied’ CCJ on your record could negatively affect your credit score and affect your ability to get credit in the future.
The best thing to do if you are in any of the situations above, is to get in touch with us, as every situation is different. We can therefore make the best recommendation for your situation. To discuss your query with us today, call us on: 0333 567 70 80 or email us at: [email protected]