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A short guide to CCJs

By z4027672030, Aug 13 2015 10:46AM

A County Court Judgment (or a CCJ for short) is a judgment issued by a county court when somebody has failed to pay money that they owe to somebody else. They are a simple way for creditors to claim money that they believe they are entitled to. If you’ve been issued with a CCJ Claim Form, read on to find out more about CCJs and how you can resolve them.

Court forms

The very first step in a CCJ being taken against you is that you will be sent a CCJ claim form, which explains how much the creditor claims you owe them. You will also be sent an admission form, which you should absolutely fill out and send back within 14 days. If you fail to send the form back, or send it back late, you may be issued a CCJ in a default judgment.

Filling out the claim form and admission form

These forms give you the opportunity to put forward your side of the story to the court, and so it is incredibly important that you fill them out. When filling out the form, you have five options:

Paying in full: paying back the full amount owed straight away, alongside any interest and court fees. If you wish to do this, there is no need to return the forms, and there will be no court hearing or CCJ recorded against you.

Ask to pay later/in instalments: Fill out the form saying how you wish to pay. A CCJ will be issued against you.

Dispute the amount owed: If you believe you owe less than is claimed against you, return the forms and give an explanation why. Pay back the amount you believe either straight away or ask for time to pay in instalments. It will then be up to the court to decide who is correct. If they decide it is the creditor, a CCJ will be issued against you.

Dispute the claim: If you believe you owe nothing, return the Defence Form to the court, setting out your side of the argument. By filling out the Acknowledgement of Service form, you can also ask for more time to dispute your claim.

Claim against the creditor: There may be some circumstances where you believe that you’re owed money instead of owing the creditor, and for this you will need to fill out the counterclaim form. This may incur some court fees.

What happens in court

You do not need to attend the court hearing unless you are disputing your claim. Cases are heard in private, and if the court decides that you owe the money you will be issued the CCJ, which will set out how to repay your debts.

If you can’t pay the CCJ

Your repayments will be decided based on information you provide about your income and spending. Failing to pay could lead to the creditor enforcing its judgment, which will incur more costs. Bailiffs may even come to your home to repossess your property. If you believe you cannot repay your debts according to the CCJ, you can ask the court to change the amount of your payments or suspend them for a period of time.

The CCJ register

CCJs are recorded on a register for six years, and can affect your ability to get credit, as banks and other lenders can do a CCJ check. This can make it extremely difficult to get a mortgage or a loan, or they will come at higher rates.

If you pay off the CCJ within a month from the day of the judgment, the CCJ will be removed from the register. Paying after the one month mark will mean your CCJ remains on the register, however, it will be marked as ‘satisfied’. In order to remove a CCJ that has been recorded on the register, you will need to ask the court to set aside the judgment. The court will only allow this if you have a genuine reason to dispute it.

Taylors Solicitors are here to help with disputes and claims relating to debt and related issues, and are one of the most trusted law firms North Devon has to offer. Visit our website or contact us to find out more.

Image: James Cridland, available under Creative Commons

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