Unfortunately, most of us will experience financial difficulties at some point in our lives, with around nine million adults in the UK being in serious debt. We have all considered turning to short-term solutions like payday loans, borrowing from friends or family or going into our overdrafts to pay for the essentials. But what happens when you can’t repay your creditors, and they come looking for their money? Here at Debt Movement we explain what a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or High Court Judgement is and what you do if you receive one.
What is a County Court Judgement?
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) or a High Court Judgement may be given if you owe someone money and the court decides that you have to pay them back. You are required by law to respond to this CCJ by the date found on the letter or email you receive.
The CCJ you receive will detail the following information:
- Who you are paying
- How much you need to pay
- The payment deadline
- The conditions of the payment (instalments or in full)
What to Do if You Get a County Court Judgement
If you receive a CCJ there is no need to panic. You can follow our simple steps and get professional help from Debt Movement.
A CCJ shouldn’t come as a surprise, as creditors will have taken several steps to contact you about your debt before they start the process of a CCJ against you. To begin with, your creditor must have sent a pre-action protocol. This is a claim form that offers you several options for reaching an agreement.
If you cannot reach an agreement, the pre-action protocol will be followed by a default notice. This notice has to be sent at least 14 days before any legal action is taken.
Once the court has examined all of the paperwork, they will determine whether to issue a CCJ. The court can issue either:
- A judgement forthwith – the whole amount you owe is due immediately
- A judgement by instalments – you can pay off the debt over time
Once this has been agreed upon, you will then begin the repayment process.
Can I Negotiate a County Court Judgement?
Although it is not compulsory to go to court, it may be beneficial as you can tell your side of the story and hopefully agree to a suitable repayment structure. If the payments that the court is asking you to make are too much, you can ask them to take another look at them in a process called a redetermination.
You may also be able to ask for the CCJ to be cancelled if you:
- Do not owe any money
- Failed to receive the original claim from the court stating that you owed money
What Happens if I Ignore a County Court Judgement?
If you ignore a CCJ or fail to comply with the agreement, then the judgement will still be issued, but the court will not take your circumstances into account. This means you could be left to pay the amount back in full at an unrealistic rate.
Furthermore, if you agree on terms but fail to keep to them, the creditor can get the court to enforce the debt. There are several ways in which they can do this:
- Bailiff action – permit a bailiff to come and collect money or goods
- Charging order – which can be secured against your home, meaning the repayment will be made when your property is sold or remortgaged
- Attachment of earnings order – money can be deducted by your employer from your wages and used as repayment
Will a County Court Judgement Affect My Credit Rating?
If you have a CCJ against you, it is likely to affect your credit rating and could make it more difficult for you to borrow money or get credit in the future.
If you receive a CCJ, it will appear on your credit report for six years. Credit reference agencies will then provide this information to any company that you attempt to borrow money from. Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean that you will be unable to borrow, but the lenders will use this information when deciding on whether to lend you money.
If you can manage to pay your debt in full within a month of receiving the CCJ, then you can apply to the court to remove the CCJ from your credit report. You will need to contact the court and get a certificate from the court which proves that you have paid your debt in full.
How to Avoid County Court Judgments
The best way to avoid receiving a CCJ is simply by making the repayments you owe on time each month. This way, you won’t be issued with any CCJs, and your credit rating will remain as it is.
We understand that sometimes budgeting can be tricky, and it is not always possible to make these payments. That’s when we recommend you get in touch with our experts here at Debt Movement as soon as you start to struggle with your repayments. That way, you can find the solution and avoid a County Court Judgement.
We know that debt can take its toll on your emotional wellbeing as well as your financial future, and the thought of potentially receiving a CCJ might seem like the end of the world. However, with Debt Movement’s expert advice on a range of debt solutions, we can help make sure that your financial future is far away from the courtroom.