County Court judgment (CCJ)
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.
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.
Received a County Court claim form and need advice?
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
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.