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What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?

When someone defaults on a payment (e.g., fails to pay the rent or an invoice or a bill) the creditor or the company which is owed the money may decide to seek a County Court judgment against the person who owes the money (the debtor) as a way of claiming the money owed.

What is County Court Judgement (CCJ)?

A County Court Judgement is an order by the court that can be issued against a debtor who owes money to the creditor and fails to make a payment. The judgment is entered on the ‘Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines’ for six years unless the debtor pays the full amount in a month. The creditor has a right to take legal support to recover their money.

What is the Process for CCJs?

A creditor must write a letter (also known as a default notice or a letter before action) to the debtor before filing a CCJ, indicating that legal action may be taken if the outstanding debt is not paid within 14 days.

The debtor will receive a Court Claim Form, they must respond to it by the date that is mentioned in it. The Court Claim Form will also include the following details:

  • Who you owe money to?
  • The total amount you owe
  • Any other fees associated
  • How to pay back i.e., at one go or in monthly instalments
  • A deadline

If the debtor does not respond to the claim within 14 days, they will receive a CCJ.  Paying the debt early may alleviate difficulties when applying for credit or loans or being denied credit altogether or facing higher interest rates.

The County Court Judgements can only be issued in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland– Scotland uses a different method called ‘enforcing a debt by diligence’.

What are the options for responding to a CCJ?

You have the following options to respond to the County Court Judgement |

A CCJ will be recorded in the Register unless the claim is disputed.

How can a claim be disputed?

A claim can be challenged in a variety of ways:

  • dispute of the amount claimed (i.e., an admission that some money is owed but not the full amount claimed)
  • defence of the claim (i.e., no money is owing, or creditor has already been paid)
  • counterclaim

To contest a claim, fill out the defence form included in the response pack, and you’ll probably have to go to court. On the day of the court hearing, a decision is usually made. Within 21 days, you have the option to appeal the decision.

If a dispute fails, a County Court Judgment will be recorded in the Register.

How is a CCJ removed from the register?

County Court Judgment (CCJs) are usually kept for six years in the Register. However, if the full amount owed is paid within one month of the judgment date, a CCJ can be removed from the Register.

It will be impossible to delete the record for six years if the whole sum is not paid within one month. However, after payment has been received in full, the judgment can be marked as ‘satisfied’ (i.e., so that companies searching the records will see that payment has been made).

Form N244 can be used to seek the court to ‘set aside a County Court Judgment if there is a real reason (for example, if the claim form was sent to the wrong address). In most cases, a court fee of £255 will be charged.

Is it possible to change A County Court judgment?

It is possible to apply to the County Court to change the judgment. If the debtor for any reason is unable to afford the payment ordered by the court, then he can ask the court to change the terms of the order to be in line with what he can afford to pay.

The debtor must apply for an application to vary the order of the court judgment.

You can do this by filling out form N245. This can be a timely process as each case is assessed on an individual basis.

A judgment creditor may apply to the court to ask it to vary the terms of the order if:

  • there is evidence of a change in the defendant’s circumstances
  • new information has come to light, or
  • there is other evidence to justify a change or higher rate of payment which was unknown when the order was made

The type of assets and the value of the judgment, as well as the conduct of the proceedings, including the history of instalment payments to date, will all influence whether such a modification is approved. In theory, though, you can seek a court to replace an order for payments with an order for, say, the sale of an asset or assets and quick satisfaction of the judgment.

Summing-up

If you’re struggling with your County Court Judgement, you can talk to us. Shergroup’s enforcement specialists will take care of the court proceedings for you and will try to make the recovery process as easy as possible. Upload your CCJ on our website and we’ll have a look at where you’re at.  If there’s anything you’d want to discuss before handing over the case to us, we’d be happy to assist you.

You can reach us |

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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