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County Court Judgments (CCJs)

A county court judgment or “CCJ” remains a judgment issued by a county court if someone has not paid culpable money. CCJs are an easy way for creditors to reclaim the money they are due. The court will review the case and decide whether you should pay a debt. If so, they’ll issue a CCJ. It sets out how you will pay the debt back.

Before someone takes legal action against you, they will likely have written to you several times requesting payment. If you cannot pay at this stage or decline to pay for any reason, you can obtain a CCJ Claim Form. Therefore, this form, which allows you to enter a defence, failing to do so may result in a CCJ issued in default.

At what point does the court have to agree?

It may happen a default judgment is issued against you if no hearing has taken place and you have not sent back the confirmation of the service to say that you intend to defend yourself. You may also have a default judgment issued against you if you have not sent the reply form asking for payment deadlines.

The court shall set aside a default judgment if you:

  • Have paid the total amount owed (including interest and costs) before the date of the creditor’s judgment;
  • Send back the confirmation of the service within the time limit;
  • Submit a defence within the period; or
  • Send the reply form within the deadline asking for more payment.

The court must overturn the verdict in those circumstances, even if you have no defence. For these reasons, there is no deadline for applying.

County Court Judgments (CCJs) & Your Options

If you have received a Claim Form, you therefore, have several choices:

  • Pay the amount in full (including any interest and court fees). If you do, you don’t have to return the forms. There will be no court hearing, and you will not have a CCJ brought against you either.
  • Request to pay at a later date or by specified instalments. A CCJ will still be issued if you do this, but the creditor may agree your repayment terms.
  • Dispute the amount owed. If you think you have less debt than you claimed, you could send back the forms explaining why. The court will then review the case and determine the matter. If they believe the creditor’s case is correct, they will issue a CCJ against you.
  • Oppose the entire claim. If you don’t think you owe anything, return the Defence Form to the court, setting out your side of the argument. Again, the court will review the case and determine whom they deem is in the right. If they believe the creditors claim, they will issue a CCJ against you.
  • Counter Claim against the creditor. If you not only dispute the creditor’s claim but also believe they owe you money, you’ll need to fill out the counterclaim form. A fee may apply. 

What happens in court?

When your case comes to court, there will be a closed-door hearing. You don’t need to attend unless you’re disputing the claim or counterclaiming. During the hearing, the court will review the evidence and decide either in your favour or in your favour. If the court rules you owe them money, it will issue a CCJ. The CCJ is a court order saying you must repay the debt. It also sets out how you will make the repayment.

What if you can’t pay the CCJ?

If you don’t or can’t pay, the creditor therefore, can return to court to ‘enforce’ the CCJ; this will usually involve additional costs to you. The enforcement action could include;

  • Bailiffs;
  • Charging order: –This means the ECJ secures against a property you own, which means you have to pay off the debt before selling the property or remortgage;
  • Attachment of the earnings order: – The court may approve an order allowing payments to be deducted directly from the salary. Here the court will address the employer directly.

How does a CCJ affect my credit file?

If you do not fully repay a CCJ within 28 days of receiving the judgment and prove this to the court, it will be entered in your credit register in the register of judgments, orders and fines, while remaining in your credit file for six years. This record can impact your ability to obtain a credit card, mortgage, or open a bank account.

If you pay the CCJ after 28-days, it will remain on the register, but recorded as ‘satisfied’; this will improve your credit file slightly, but many lenders will still view it negatively.

Can I get a CCJ removed?

When contesting a CCJ, it is essential to consider the facts. Applying to the courts to set aside a judgement is a serious task and must not be abused. If you deliberately apply knowing you owe the money but are chancing the situation? The court may decline your application, costing time and money. An application to set aside a judgement as at 7/1/21 is £255 payable to the court. So actioned by using the N244 form.

CCJ register

In the UK, A Register of Orders, Judgments, and Fines maintain record CCJs for six years.

Most CCJs will appear in the register, but some however, will not. Therefore, for the judgement to be registered, the judgment must either be delayed or defended and payment made in instalments or enforcement measures taken. 

Banks and additional lenders can handle a CCJ check against the CCJ Registry when determining whether to grant loans. Obtaining a mortgage with a CCJ or a loan with a CCJ is problematic. Notwithstanding, if you receive credit, you may pay a more expensive interest rate.

Credit repair firms

You may have heard of firms offering to delete your credit rating from credit reference agencies so you can apply for more credit.

Credit repair firms can try to charge you a fee and often send you a packet of information explaining how you can sort out your debts.

Legally, The Financial Conduct Authority must authorise credit repair firms (FCA). Please make sure the company is on the FCA register before you use its service. If you wish to complain about something a credit repair company has been doing since October 2008, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service to get assistance.

If you are unsatisfied with a credit reference company, you can complain to:

  • The Financial Ombudsman Service on:
    • 0800 023 4567; 
    • 0300 123 9123; 
    • view: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

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