So you have received a County Court Judgment have you? Not to worry, below I look at how you can deal with one and where you can get help if you are still unsure about what to do.
Dealing with a County Court Judgment
Let’s take a look at the steps you should go through when dealing with a County Court Judgment.
1. Check to make sure that what you have received is in fact a County Court Judgment. Sadly creditors or debt collection agencies sometimes play little games and word things in a way that can make them seem like something they are not. Sometimes they are simply trying to scare you into making payment towards the debt.
2. You should have received a default notice. This is a required step before a creditor can take you to court. A default notice is a formal letter which details exactly how much you would need to pay in order to bring the account back up to date. You should be given at least 14 days to remedy the situation before the account is defaulted which ends the agreement between you and the creditor. If you do pay before this time then no further action is taken against you.
3. Typically after a debt has been defaulted the account is referred to a debt collection agency. However such as things are in life this is not always the case and a creditor may choose to go for a CCJ straight away, so long as they have issued the required default notice.
4. The court forms you would receive are a pale blue colour and should have the court crest on the top. If this is what you have received then your creditor has applied for a CCJ. You would have received the following three forms: -
- N1 Form. This form details the amount owed, the name of the creditor and the name of the court dealing with it.
- N9a Form. This is the admission form.
- N9n Form. This is the defence form.
5. If you admit that you are liable for the debt then you would complete the N1 Form and the N9A form. You should return these forms within 16 days. I would highly recommend sending them recorded delivery so you have proof they have been delivered. It is imperative that you complete all the sections and make your offer of repayment. You would do this based on your income and expenditure form.
6. The N9n form is used when you dispute the amount owed. I would recommend getting professional advice if this applies to you. The links at the end of this post can get you in touch with organisations who should be able to help you.
7. Once you receive a letter titled ‘Judgment for Claimant’ the CCJ has been registered. It will remain on your credit file for a period of six years from the date it was first registered. This letter will specify the amount you should pay per month. If the creditor is not happy with your repayment offer or you haven’t responded in time they are able to request the full amount owed immediately. This is known as a ‘Judgment Forthwith’.
8. If an amount per month has been specified and you make the payments on time no further action is usually taken.
9. Should you fail to maintain the requested payments or the creditor asks for the judgment forthwith which you are unable to pay, the creditor can ask the court to proceed with further action, examples could include bailiffs, a charging order or an attachment of earnings order.
10. If you find that your circumstances change you can apply to vary the judgment by completing the form N245 with a more affordable offer of payment.
11. It is possible to avoid a CCJ if it would aversely affect your employment. To do this you would need to apply for a Tomlin Order.
With a CCJ it is vital that you act fast and respond to the paperwork the court sends to you. Ignoring the situation will only make matters worse. If you are unsure what to do see the links below to organisations who can help you.
Help with a County Court Judgment
If you are stuck and need help, please don’t worry. Visit the Get Debt Help section of this blog to see a list of organisations who can help you with your debt.
Good luck and I hope you get things sorted out soon.