What to do if you have been issued a County Court Judgment (CCJ)
If you have been served a County Court Judgment (CCJ), it may have occurred without your knowledge due to unfair practices. Pearson Solicitors have a 92% success rate working with clients to resolve this issue. There are actions you can take to defend yourself from such sharp practices ahead of potential governmental changes to how CCJs operate, here’s what you can do.
What is a County Court Judgment and why they are served
A CCJ will be issued when a debtor has failed to pay what they owe to a creditor. The creditor must initially send the debtor a default notice, or letter before action, stating what sum is due and why, and make it clear that if payment is not made then legal proceedings will begin. If they fail to pay, a creditor may begin court proceedings against the debtor.
If the court grants a judgment against you, you will be instructed to pay the amount stated by the creditor. Do not ignore these claims, as a judgment can still be made in your absence, which could result in the court not taking note of your personal circumstances, resulting in a potentially very difficult financial situation to deal with.
Failing to meet the terms of a CCJ could see bailiff action being taken against you. A CCJ will remain on your credit record for six years if it is not paid off within 30 days of receiving the CCJ – this will negatively impact your credit rating.
County Court Judgments CCJ issued without the debtor’s knowledge
Some rogue creditors will purposely issue claims against you at a previous address, or not take sufficient steps to confirm if you are still at that property, where you may be completely unaware of them. In these circumstances, due to the fact that the debtor will be unaware of the claim, the court will enter a CCJ against them “in default” simply because the debtor had not responded to the claim.
Many individuals will be unaware of these CCJs for months, or even years, and quite often will only realise when it comes to applying for a mortgage, loan, or anything else that relies on a credit rating.
We are aware of companies, and have had success in defending our clients against them, who buy up debt for very low prices, relying on the fact that individuals will pay up in order to avoid any further legal action.
Government proposals and potential changes
The government have announced that they intend to take steps towards increasing fairness surrounding CCJs and ending rogue claims against individuals. The proposals include:
Striking a CCJ from the register immediately once unknown debts are resolved and a judge agrees the person was unaware;
better protecting consumers who do not receive mail because it is sent to an old address;
introducing a government information campaign providing a centralised, trusted source to raise awareness and help people deal with unresolved debts.
Guidance can be found on what to do if a CCJ is entered against you here:
- Dealing with court claims or County Court Judgments (CCJs)
- A checklist to help you deal with CCJs
- If you’ve received a money claim, read this: Has someone served a court claim form document on you?
- Have you received a County Court Judgment? Can you do anything?
Recommendations have been made by The Law Society that CCJs are sent out not just by post, but also by email. Furthermore, they have suggested that there be an online search system to allow individuals to check whether they have any claims against them.
What you can do about County Court Judgments
If you have received a claim for an unpaid debt, do not ignore it, respond to it immediately and ensure that you have taken legal advice to ensure the fairest possible outcome.
If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of having a CCJ issued against you without your knowledge, we have had success in defending our clients against such sharp commercial practices. Speak to one of our experts at the earliest possible time to ensure the best possible outcome.
Here is a list of steps and associated fees when trying to set aside a CCJ
|1. Review documents, request Claim form from the Court and send a letter to the Claimant or Claimant’s Solicitor’s requesting consent for the CCJ to be set aside||£500 +VAT|
|2. Allow the Claimant 7 days to consent, then make an application to the Court to set aside the CCJ||With the Claimant's consent: £400 +VAT
Without the Claimant's consent: £500 +VAT
|3. In addition to steps 1 and 2 above:||If a Court hearing is listed 2.5 - 3.5 hours: £500 - £700 +VAT
Advocate’s fee for attending a hearing on your behalf: £150 - £900 +VAT (depending on experience and qualification of the advocate or barrister)
If the Claimant agrees to consent to the CCJ being set aside in step 2, the Court fee will be £108.00.
If the Claimant does not agree to consent to the CCJ being set aside in step 2, the Court fee will be £275.
Why it’s important to ask for the Claimant’s Consent
We have had success in setting aside numerous CCJs and are therefore well placed to advise you on the best approach to take. Should you wish for us to make an application to the Court to set a CCJ aside registered against you, please speak to one of our experts at the earliest possible time to ensure the best possible outcome.
For more information on these issues, contact Asa Cocker on 0161 785 3500Subscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.