When a person or a business believes that you owe them money, they can apply to a County Court for a judgement that will help them claim these funds.
Businesses (or people) usually apply for a CCJ when the debtor is ignoring their letters, calls or other communications. They can also apply if they can’t agree on a debt or a repayment schedule for it.
A creditor cannot automatically apply for or administer a CCJ automatically. The process stipulates that they need to warn the debtor first via a default notice or a “letter before action”.
A CCJ is an important instrument and any threat should not be ignored. When an applicant applies for a CCJ then the court will investigate the issue.
The key point is that if you’ve already received a CCJ then the courts have already decided that you owe the amount in question. You will then have 14 days to respond.
How does a CCJ work?
You’ll receive a CCJ through the post in the first instance.
The County Court Judgement will document what you owe, whom you owe it to and the date you have to settle the debt by. If it’s been decided that the debt can be paid in installments then it may also include payment details.
The role of the courts
Once you’ve received a CCJ, depending on your course of action, the courts may have to make a final decision over who is in the right. Sometimes the courts get it wrong, and in these circumstances, you may need to apply to have the CCJ set aside.
Receiving a CCJ can often be quite worrying, but if you repay your debt within 28 days or you reply with the appropriate forms within the time limit, the courts must stay or set aside the judgement.
The impact of a CCJ
CCJs come with a degree of urgency and they don’t only refer to the here and now.
If you owe money and don’t settle in full within 28 days of receiving the CCJ, the judgement will be registered against your name and kept on record at the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for six years.
Having a CCJ on your record will affect your credit rating and can severely hamper your chances of getting a loan, credit card, mortgage or any type of credit.
If a quick agreement can’t be reached to settle a CCJ, whoever you owe money to can request that a Court Enforcement Officer (bailiff) attend your premises and remove goods to be sold. You can find more about dealing with bailiffs here.
What if I have multiple debts?
If a CCJ is just one of many debts you owe or you’ve been unable to settle it then you need to get some advice and quickly.
Get in touch with us and we can arrange a free, initial consultation to discuss how we can help you.