CCJs or County Court Judgments

Posted by Kevin Pearce in Personal Finance on 31 October 2016 - Kevin is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

It’s no secret that the levels of unpaid debts in the UK have been rising over the last few years, as household incomes stagnate and everything else in this world seemingly becomes more expensive.

A creditor will obviously want their money back and if the monthly payments are not forthcoming and arrears are mounting, they will send reminders, default notices and threats of legal action.

County Court Judgments (CCJs) are a way for creditors to reclaim debts owed to them by debtors, using the legal system as a last-ditch option once all other attempts of collection have failed.

The creditor will need to prove the steps they have taken to reclaim the debt and prove beyond doubt that the debt is actually owed by the individual the proceedings have been started against.

There are two types of judgement that may be applied if the claim is successful: a standard County Court Judgment, whereby both sides of the case are assessed, and a default judgment, where the court only hears the side of the creditor.

A CCJ claim form will be issued when a CCJ is lodged against you, which must be completed and returned within 14 days to avoid the default judgment scenario. The exception to this is if you pay the debt in full (plus fees) immediately, which would mean no court hearing is required and no CCJ would be lodged.

Other options are to:

Delay payment to an agreed date or pay in instalments

Dispute the amount owed

Dispute that you owe anything

Counterclaim against creditor

All of these will result in a CCJ being lodged against you unless you can prove that the creditor is unjustified in pursuing the debt.

If you pay the judgment in full within a month of the initial judgment date, the CCJ will be removed from the Register of Judgments and will also be removed from your credit report. Unfortunately, if a CCJ is successfully lodged and you do not pay on time, your credit file will be impacted for the next 6 years, making it difficult to obtain credit or at the very least restricting the options available to you and the interest rates you will be eligible for.

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