County court judgments for debt

Overview

1. Overview

You may get a county court judgment (CCJ) or high court judgment if someone takes court action against you (saying you owe them money) and you don’t respond.

You have 14 days to respond to the court claim.

If you get a judgment, this means that the court has formally decided that you owe the money.

The judgment will come in the post and will explain:

  • how much you owe
  • how to pay (in full or in instalments)
  • the deadline for paying
  • who to pay

Records of judgments are kept for 6 years unless you pay the full amount within a month – this can make it hard to get credit.

If you don’t owe the money, you can ask the court to cancel, or ‘set aside’, the judgment.

If you do owe the money, you should arrange to pay what you can afford.

If you get a judgment don’t ignore it – you could be taken back to court and forced to pay.

Court judgments for debt in Scotland

The law is different in Scotland – read guidance from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scotland’s insolvency service).

If you don't owe the money

2. If you don’t owe the money – cancel the judgment

If you don’t owe the money, you can ask the court to cancel the county court judgment (CCJ) or high court judgment. This is known as getting the judgment ‘set aside’.

You can do this if you didn’t receive, or didn’t respond to, the original claim from the court saying you owed the money.

Apply to get the judgment set aside

To get a judgment set aside, fill in the application notice (N244), and send it to the court.

You may have to pay a court fee of £255.

You’ll have to go to a private hearing at the court to explain why you don’t owe the money.

If you don’t go to the hearing, your application will be rejected and you’ll have to pay the amount in the judgment.

If you do owe the money

3. If you do owe the money – pay the judgment

You’ll have to pay the person or business you owe the money to, or their solicitor. The name and address will be on the judgment form. Don’t pay the court.

Make sure you can prove you’ve paid. Send a cheque or postal order by post, or make a bank transfer. Don’t send cash through the post.

Keep a record of your payments and make sure you pay in time.

Pay in instalments

If you’re paying in instalments, ask the person or business you owe the money to about the best way to pay.

You may want to set up a standing order to pay the money directly from your bank account.

If you’re late with your payments, you could be taken back to court and you may have to pay extra costs.

Ask to change the payments

You can ask to change the amount you pay per week or per month.

To do this, fill in the N245 application form.

Give details of your income and spending, and say how much you can realistically afford to pay.

You may have to pay a £50 court fee.

If your offer is rejected, the court will decide on the amount you have to pay.

If you’re threatened with bailiffs

The person or business you owe money to may use bailiffs to collect the money.

They’ll have to apply to the court for a ‘warrant’, which will give the bailiff the right to visit your home or property.

You’ll be given 7 days to pay before they visit.

You may be able to stop the bailiff from visiting, by filling in the N245 application form.

Say on the form how you’ll repay the money – eg weekly or monthly payments.

If your offer is accepted, the warrant will be stopped as long as you keep up with the payments.

If you have other judgments or debts

If you have another judgment against you, you can arrange to pay all your debts to the court in a single weekly or monthly payment.

This will stop people taking action against you to get their money – eg by sending bailiffs to your home.

You can only do this if your total debts are under £5,000.

You’ll need to fill in the application for an administration order (N92).

Contact the court if you can’t keep up with the payments.

CCJs and your credit rating

4. CCJs and your credit rating

If you get a county court judgment (CCJ) or a high court judgment, it will stay on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for 6 years.

Banks and loan companies use this information to decide whether to give you credit or loans.

If you pay within a month

If you pay the full amount within a month you can get the judgment removed from the register.

If you pay after a month

If you pay after a month, you can get the record of the judgment marked as ‘satisfied’ in the register.

It will stay on the register for 6 years but people searching the register will see that you’ve paid.

Contact the court to say you’ve paid – you’ll need to send proof of payment, and pay a £15 court fee.

Search the register of judgments

You can search for details of any judgments against you on the register of judgments.

You’ll have to pay a small fee – a simple search costs £4.

If the information on the register is wrong, contact Trust Online, who will check the details with the court:

Trust Online
153-157 Cleveland Street
London
W1T 6QW

Last updated: 25 October 2016

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