You may have seen the TV shows, such as “Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away” and “The Sheriffs are Coming” and wondered how the creditors got a piece of paper that compelled their debtor to pay the debt.
For anyone thinking this is a really technical procedure, we have good news! It can be as simple as signing up for Money Claim Online (MCOL).
Make a money claim online
You can obtain a money claim if you consider a person or organisation owes you money and will not pay you back.
Before initiating a claim, contact the person or organisation to settle the issue through discussion or mediation.
Your claim, including your name and address, will be forwarded to the person you say owes you money. They’ll get an opportunity to respond to your claim.
To make a money claim, download and fill in form N1.
What is Money Claim Online?
MCOL is meant to be a comparatively easy way to initiate a county court claim for a fixed amount of money. It is one of the ways you can claim any money you are owed, up to £100,000. However, errors made can be costly to you both in time and money and may affect the consequence of your claim.
This guidance can help:
Ensure that the claim you issue is suitable for MCOL
Understand your role and responsibilities during the claim process
Understand the role of the court in the claim process
Making a small claim
Before you rise your small claim it’s a good approach to write a formal letter to the person or business or defendant you disagree with. This is called a ‘letter before claim’ or a ‘letter before action’.
You will notify them by writing a letter even if you have sent them to the complaint. You can initiate the small claim by filling N1 form when the letter before the claim doesn’t resolve the problem.
Write a letter before claim
You can write ‘Letter before claim’ at the start of your letter to show this is a formal letter.
Your letter should include:
your name and address
a summary of what’s happened
what you want the person or business to do about it
how much money do you want?
a deadline for the reply – usually 14 days
that you’ll start court proceedings if you don’t get a reply
Respond to a Money Claim
The defendant must respond if someone claims the money. they must respond by the date of the email or letter you receive.
If a defendant fails to respond
They might get a County Court Judgment (CCJ) if you do not respond by the date on the letter or email.
If the defendant gets a CCJ: bailiffs can be sent to the home or business
Difference Between Money Claim Online and the County Court Money Claims
There are a number of differences between using money claims online and issuing a claim in the county court money claims.
The first one is fees. Money claim online is cheaper to use than the county court money claims centre.
What Can Be Claimed
Money claim online limits the maximum amount possible to claim, to £100,000.
This service is actually a big success story for the UK Government (it needs a few of these at the time of writing this blog), and for online service delivery in the legal world. Millions of claims have been entered into the system since it started back in 2002. You may already have an account, or if you don’t then follow this link to set one up. We will be answering questions in the future about how to get the most from MCOL. For those readers who want to jump straight in here is a link to the Claimant User Guide for the service.
But for those of you who have used MCOL and have entered judgment against your defendant, that person is now technically a “judgment debtor” but we will just refer to him/her/it as a “debtor”. Once you get to the judgment stage, which you will have requested and the MCOL system will confirm judgment has been entered, the next step is to get the judgment paid and there are 3 outcomes you can really expect at this stage. These are:
The debtor pays you the amount of your judgment in full
The debtor makes you an offer which you accept, and time will tell if the debtor is sincere in wanting to pay
The debtor doesn’t pay you – and you are left with a judgment or a promise to pay – which needs to be enforced by YOU – not the Court
If 3) is where you’re at, firstly you are not alone. Thousands of judgments don’t get paid until the creditor compels payment through the enforcement process. Compelling payment is what High Court Enforcement Officers, and particularly enforcement agents of Shergroup are good at, so if you are at this stage we can help you compel payment using the court enforcement system. In fact, this post is written with YOU in mind!
High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) can enforce all CCJs over £600 in value unless they are related to consumer regulated agreements (which is things like store cards and car finance) in which case you can’t use an HCEO or a Writ of Control. But if you fall into this category don’t worry we have a service for this type of judgment so still contact us and we will give you the alternative!
Assuming you have a qualifying CCJ which is more than £600 in value and is waiting to be paid, this post will most definitely help you.
So, first things first, we have to get the judgment out of the MCOL system as there is no automatic transfer of the CCJ into a High Court Writ. So please go into your account, find the judgment information page, and PRINT OFF the CCJ so you have all the information on one side of A4 or save a copy of the judgment to your device as a PDF. A copy of a judgment from the MCOL system accompanies this post so you can make sure you know what we are all looking at. Have a look and make sure you have something similar on Form N30 on your screen ready to print off or save to your device.
Once you have the CCJ in paper form or as a PDF on your device, (and as you just used an online system we are presuming you are just a little bit computer savvy), pick the next option to get the CCJ to the Shergroup TEAM who offer a no-obligation FREE review:
1) Send us the PDF of the N30 by email to our dedicated judgment processing centre at [email protected]
2) If you have a paper version of the N30 lay the paperwork on a flat surface and click a photo of the page – hopefully in focus – and send it to us at [email protected]
3) If those two options don’t work call us on 0845 890 9200 and talk to one of our Business Solutions Advisors and they will have a chat about the best way to get your N30 form to us for a FREE review
Once we receive your CCJ we will do a couple of preliminary checks to make sure you’re not wasting your time in trying to enforce the judgment. We will for example make sure your debtor is still solvent by carrying out searches against either a company, business name, or individual name. There is no point enforcing a judgment against a debtor insolvent. If you find yourself in this situation we can put you in touch with our Creditor Services team who can help you.
Once we have completed our searches we will give you a call to chat through what we think we can do for you and outline the low cost of enforcing the judgment using our expertise.
We charge a flat fee of £156.00 for litigants in person. Businesses are offered reduced fees once they have been credit checked.
So, send us any N30 you want us to look at including those that have been with county court bailiffs, or other HCEOs – up to 6 years old. If you have something older than 6 years, we will look at it and advise whether it’s worth pursuing an application to the Court to allow enforcement to continue.
We are here to help anyone through the MCOL system and give them better options for enforcement