What is a county court judgement?

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Health Assured team

16 June 2023

A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a court order in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that can be registered against you through the County Court, if you are unable to repay any money that you owe. It is one of the actions that is taken by a creditor that form part of the debt collection process. Scotland use a different method known as enforcing a debt by diligence. 

What happens before a CCJ can be issued?

Before a creditor can take you to Court, they must ensure they have sent a Letter of Claim to you to detail what the debt is, how they have worked it out and your options on how to pay the debt and contact information as well as where you can obtain free and independent advice to help with debt matters. The Letter of Claim must be responded to within 30 days therefore it is imperative that you respond to this to confirm if you owe the debt or wish to dispute it to avoid further interest being charged to the debt.

If you do reply to the Letter of Claim within the specified period stated but you are unable to reach an agreement, then you should be sent a default notice at least 14 days’ before under the Consumer Credit Act to inform you they intend to commence with court action. 

When a creditor takes court action

Where you have failed to respond to the creditor, they will then commence with an application for a County Court Judgement which contains a ‘claim pack’ including four forms:

  • N1 – Claim form
  • N9 – Response Pack
  • N9A – Admission (Specified amount)
  • N9B – Defence and Counterclaim

You will need to complete and return Form N9A or N9B to the creditor.

You can get help and support on the process on the Step Change website 

The same can be found for Scotland at this link

The aim of the Court does not just serve the interests of the creditors alone but are there to settle disputes in debt that is owed and how these debts will be repaid. If you agree you owe the debt, then you can respond to pay the full amount or propose how you will be able to pay the debt back instalments i.e., repayment plan which the Courts can consider. No further action can be taken against you by the creditor unless they intend to apply for a charging order to secure the debt against your home.

If you do not agree that you owe the debt, then you need to respond to the Court with a defence which is a legal reason for why you do not owe some or all the debt or why you do not agree that the creditor had acted through the Courts against you for a debt you do owe.  

Breathing Space

This is a government scheme which allows you time to obtain debt advice and determine solutions to sort out your debt problems. It lasts for 60 days and gives you respite from any enforcement action, interest, and fees for the whole duration.  There is a criterion which determines whether someone is eligible for breathing space. Further information can be found on the Step Change website where there is clear guidance on this:

Visit Step Change website

To conclude, a CCJ stays on your record on the register of Judgement, Orders and Fines for 6 years and can impact your ability to obtain credit during that time. This means you may struggle to obtain loans, credit cards and mortgages. There are steps that can be taken to improve how lenders view you. Some organisations such as Experian and TransUnion offer helps and guidance on ways to improve your credit score and help to better manage your money.

Visit Experian

Visit TransUnion

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