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What are CCJs?

25th April 2018 Print

A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a type of court order used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you fail to repay a debt, the person you owe money to may decide to take court action and you could get a CCJ. If this happens, your judgement will arrive by post and you have 14 days to respond.

A CCJ is unlikely to arrive out of the blue. If you owe money the lender should first send a warning letter advising you there is money outstanding. 

What happens if you get a CCJ?

If you get a CCJ, don’t ignore it or you could be taken to court. When you receive the judgement, the letter should explain what action you need to take and what will happen if you fail to act.

If you do owe the money, you may decide to pay it back in full. You could ask to pay in instalments if you can’t afford to pay in full. If you don’t agree that you owe money, then you could dispute the claim. Whether you agree with the claim or not, you must respond. 

What if you don’t make the repayments?

If the court decides you owe the money and you don’t pay when instructed, then the lender may ask the court to enforce the judgement. This could mean that bailiffs visit you to seize property to the value of the debt. Alternatively, the court could issue an Attachment or Earnings Order where the money will be taken directly from your wages.

Is there a record of your CCJ?

If you make payment within 30 days then a CCJ will usually be removed from the register of Judgement, Orders and Fines. Failing to pay within 30 days could result in the CCJ being registered for six years.

Credit providers often check the register if you apply for credit. They could decide not to offer you credit if you have a CCJ. This could prevent you from getting a mortgage, loan or other types of credit. 

How to avoid CCJs

To avoid getting a CCJ, ensure loan repayments are made on time. Pay any credit cards, loans, utility bills and other debt in line with the agreement. 

If you are struggling to pay your debts, then speak to your lenders. Some may offer you a payment plan to make payments more manageable. Not all lenders will agree but some may prefer to help you rather than take court action.  

When you take out a loan or apply for credit, make sure you understand the terms. Only borrow if you can afford the repayments and think you will be able to stick to the agreement.

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