County Court judgment (CCJ)
1 What is a CCJ?
A County Court judgment (CCJ) is a court order which tells you to pay money you owe to a debtor. It is one of the actions your creditors could take as part of the debt collection process.
This order illustrates that your creditors have taken legal action against you claiming that you have failed to keep the debt payments. If you receive a legal order from the court, this means that the court has formally accepted the application of the potential creditors.
If you receive a County Court claim form you have just over two weeks to respond. It is very important to respond sooner rather than later within the timeframe that has just been given and if you do not do this, the court will order you to pay the debt back at a rate you cannot afford and this could lead to further enforcement action.
You can only receive a CCJ if you live in England or Wales. The court process that creditors use in Northern Ireland and Scotland works very differently.
If you have received a County Court claim form, do not panic. If a creditor has started a court action against you, you need to deal with it as soon as possible. We can help you.
1.1 What does it mean if you receive a county court judgment (CCJ) order?
On receiving a county court judgment order, it usually means that the court has decided to take legal action on the terms of the potential creditors that have complained against you.
The judgment order will include:
- The amount of money that you owe to the potential creditors
- The payment method that you are obliged to obey in terms of payment. This can be instalments or complete lump-sum
- The deadline for the payment of the debts imposed.
- The contact of the creditors whom you own the money.
2 What to do when you receive a Court Judgment?
The county court judgement order is a legal process, which is based on the legal assessment of the situation presented by your potential creditors.
If you have received a court judgment, you are advised to consult your insolvency expert right away. We at Free Debt Helpline offer quick and concise debt advice in terms of county court judgment orders as well.
The court judgment order cannot be sent out of the blue. In such case, your creditors might have mailed you warning letters or notices.
In case, you do not owe any money to the potential creditor, you can request the court to cancel the judgment order, providing sufficient evidence of your credit information.
However, if you owe debts to the creditors filing against you, you are required to manage the debts accordingly.
As per the law, you will be notified via notice regarding the activities about to take place. This must include a copy of the Financial Conduct Authority.
2.1 Responding to the claim:
The foremost action is to respond to the notice that was sent to you in terms of the payments you own to your creditors. If you ignore the notice, the court will be at liability of engaging in legal action against you.
This can include obligatory actions in terms of repaying your debts. This can create a difficult situation for you as the court can compel you to pay the debts in complete amounts.
For the necessary steps, you must:
- Respond to the creditor immediately regarding the allegations made. Clear the matter if you do not owe the money.
- Fill in an enclosed financial statement to illustrate debt payments in case you are unable to pay the payments in full
- Whilst dealing with the situation, contact a money advisor immediately as well as let your creditor know that you have engaged with your insolvency expert
- Feel free to get detailed information regarding the debt allegations made. This will help in providing you with detailed information of the repayments to be made. In addition, this will allow your money advisor to assess your financial situation more effectively.
- Ask if your creditor agrees to a repayment arrangement. If so, you can avoid the legal proceedings
3 Identifying county forms:
As explained, the court action would not be initiated without reason. Your creditor should have informed you with a prior notice. You should have received a default notice in terms of the court action to be initiated by your creditors if Consumer Credit Act regulated the debt.
On receiving the court orders, it is ensured that your creditors have taken legal actions against you. Ensure that you have received the complete court forms.
Ensure that the court form includes:
- N1-claim form
- N9-response back form
- N9A-admission form (in terms of specified amount to be paid)
- N9B-defence and counter claim form (in terms you reject the allegations as well as respond to the claims of your creditors)
If you have received the above-mentioned forms, which are known as ‘claim pack’ you are required to perform effective actions as soon as possible.
3.1 Form Details:
The Claim, Admission and Defence form will have:
Your details including name, address, the name of court commonly Northampton County Court, the name of the creditor and the claim number identifying your case.
The N1 form will include:
State of the debt payments that you owe to the creditors, particular claims and debt details.
You are obliged for the completion and submission of the claim forms within 14 days back to your creditors, keeping in accordance with the relaxation for the submission limit. In addition, if you are unable to keep up with the date, you can either apply online or respond with ‘extension in the deadline’ using the ‘acknowledgment of service’ form, which can provide reasonable background for the extension claim.
4 The process of CCJ:
Since the forms will comprise of the payment details that you are willing to pay, on submission of the claim forms, your creditors will be obliged to initiate the legal process in accordance with your details.
However, to ensure that you plan effectively in terms of the payments, you are advised to contact a money advisor to get a consolidated view of the situation. We at Free Debt Helpline offer money advice services, helping you with the planning of the payments.
You can refer to our advice on dealing with a CCJ that provides consolidated and detailed information regarding the proceedings of CCJ in case you are unable to return the forms in time to the court or have problems with the payments scheduled.
5 How does CCJ affect you?
With the CCJ initiated against you, your credit file will be affected for six years, due to the illustration of the event on the insolvency register, which is publicly visible.
It becomes difficult in terms of the management of financials with the pertaining court order. To ensure effective management, you can consult our experts at Free Debt Helpline who can help you ensure effective management of your financial repayments.
As your credit details will be posted on the Register of Judgments. The Registry Trust that adds your credentials with the information provided by the court operates the register.
6 Alternative debt solutions:
Ask for the changings in the payments that have been made. This can be done using the N9B form by mentioning in the defence
In case you do not owe any money, you can apply for the CCJ set aside claim that will cancel the order.
We at Free Debt Helpline offer extensive advice regarding the workability and the proceedings of County Court Judgments. We offer Debt remedy that will provide you with effective insight regarding your current financial obligations as well as recommend effective planning for your debt payments.
In addition, we provide clear and practical advice in terms of insolvency issues, allowing you to manage your payments in a satisfying manner. Contact our help advisors right away for advice on County Court Judgments and other debt plans.
7 Received a County Court claim form and need advice?
7.1 Received a letter of claim?
Before a creditor can proceed with a County Court claim, they must send you a 'letter of claim' in the post, providing details of the debt.
If you receive a letter of claim, do not panic. You have 30 days to respond with the reply form provided. However, it is important to reply back to the letter regarding the claim during the 30 days with the timeframe that has been given, as a creditor can begin court action if you do not do it.Use the reply form to:
- Respond to the creditor
- Fill in the enclosed financial statement to make an offer of payment if you cannot afford to pay full debt.
- Let the creditor know you are seeking debt advice
- If you need more information from the creditor about the debt, request it
8 Identifying Northampton and other County Court forms:
Your creditor should have written to you in advance if they were planning to start court action. If the debt is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act you must have received a default notice by now before the start of court action.
Once your creditor starts a court action against you, firstly, you will know about it when you receive a form in the post from the court. If this happens you need to act as soon as possible. This is why it is important to ensure your creditors have your current address as well as opening your post straight away as soon as you get it.
If you have received a form in the post that appear to be from a court, check them against the following list. If they meet all of these points, you should have received a 'claim pack', which means your creditor has applied for a County Court judgment (CCJ).1. There are four forms included with the following titles printed at the top:
- N1 - Claim form
- N9 - Response pack
- N9A - Admission (specified amount)
- N9B - Defence and counterclaim
They are usually printed on white or blue-and-white paper, with the form name at the top and the form number in the bottom right hand corner.2. The claim form, admission form and defence form all have the following in the top right corner:
- The name of a court, most commonly Northampton County Court
- Your name
- The creditor's name, and their account number or reference number for the debt
- A 'claim number' which identifies your case
3. The N1 claim form will state how much you owe and normally includes a section called 'particulars of claim', which explains what the debt is
If the forms you have received do not have all these features you should contact the creditor or the court that sent it to you and ask them about it, or contact us for advice.
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Completing the County court claim forms
You have 14 days to get N9A or N9B completed back to the creditor, but the court allows a few days extra for the claim pack to get to you. The exact deadline depends on which court has issued the claim. If you do not have time to reply via post, you can usually reply online or apply for an extension using the ‘acknowledgement of service’ form.
Our step-by-step guide to the County Court claim process explains how to complete the forms.
What happens next?
Once you have returned your court forms, the creditor or court will agree on an amount you can afford to pay towards your CCJ based on the information you have provided on the form. The amount agreed amount will be paid in monthly instalments.
If you follow the terms of the order by paying the right amount on time, any further action by your creditors is limited. If you are a homeowner, the creditor is allowed to apply for a charging order to secure the debt against your home but other than this no enforcement action can be taken against you.
If you do not return the forms on time or the amount that the court set is too high, you should read our advice on dealing with a CCJ to understand what your options are when dealing with a CCJ.
How does a CCJ affect me?
One of the most common questions people ask is how long does a CCJ last?
Your CCJ will appear on your credit file for six years and will affect your ability to take out further credit as lenders will be able to see that you have a CCJ.
Having a CCJ on your credit file makes it complicated to take out further credit. However, the most important thing is that you get free debt advice to manage your payments. Once you are back in control, you can take steps to repair your credit file.
Your CCJ will also get added to a database called the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines within a month. The register is operated by a company called Registry Trust and courts send them details of all new CCJs.
What if I cannot afford my CCJ?
If you do not return the forms in time or you have been asked to pay more than you can afford, this might cause difficulties. If you do end up in such situation, you still have two options available:
Apply to change the payment terms if you cannot afford them
Apply to have the CCJ 'set aside' or cancel it if you think it should not have happened
Both of these options are explained in our section on what to do if you cannot pay a CCJ.
Help and advice with a CCJ
If you have received a CCJ and you are not sure what to do with it, we could help. We can offer expert advice on the County Court claims process and how to deal with a CCJ.
We can also recommend solutions to help you manage your debt problems and give you clear, practical advice about how to deal with your debts.