A County Court or High Court Judgment can be made against you if an individual or a business has issued a claim against you for money and you have failed to file a response.
If you receive a claim form in the post, you should always respond.
Whether you do this with or without the aid of a solicitor is entirely your choice. Some individuals find that by instructing a solicitor, it eases their burden whereas others may be conscious of legal costs.
County Court Judgments (often referred to as CCJs) can be for low value and therefore instructing a solicitor may seem disproportionate. However, the implications of a CCJ can be significant, and failure to file the required forms can be detrimental in proceedings and, with the court’s encouragement for litigants to act in person, they are becoming ever more commonplace.
A CCJ can have implications for your day-to-day life, and will affect aspects such as your credit score rating and your chances of securing a mortgage.
If a CCJ has been issued against you, you will receive it in the post. The CCJ will state who you have to pay, the amount you must pay and the deadline for doing so.
Many people may not be aware that a claim has been issued against them, or do not believe that they owe the money, and will want to dispute the CCJ. This is known as ‘setting aside a CCJ’.
If you are considering setting aside a CCJ, you can either do this independently or many law firms offer this service. To set aside a judgement, you will need to complete form N244, there is also a Court fee of £255 which you will need to pay to file this form. You will also have to attend a private hearing at the court to explain why you don’t owe the money.
If you don’t attend the hearing, your application will be rejected and you will have to pay the amount in the CCJ.
If you don't dispute the CCJ, you should pay it within the given deadline to avoid incurring further costs or risk the bailiffs arriving at your doorstep.
You should always record evidence of the transfer of the payment; this can prove invaluable if a dispute arises in the future over the transfer.
If you pay the CCJ within a month of receiving it, you can get the CCJ removed from the register. However, if you fail to pay within a month of receiving the CCJ, the record of the CCJ will be visible. Although, those searching the register will be able to view that you have paid the CCJ, this can have significant implications for your credit rating. To allow the register to be marked to show you have paid the CCJ after 1 month, you will need to show the Court proof of payment and you will also have to pay a £15 court fee.
The bailiffs can be used as a threat by the person or business who you owe the money to. However, you should receive 7 days’ notice of their arrival. If you have not made the payment or made an application to set aside the CCJ, it is advisable to do so as soon as you receive notice of their planned visit.
Summerfield Browne Solicitors have offices in London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford and Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Summerfield Browne Solicitors directly.
Published on 8th June 2017
(Last updated 21st March 2018)