How To Handle County Court Judgements (CCJs)

Many people fear receiving a letter from the county court in which it claims they owe someone money. If this happens, it is up to the county courts to decide whether or not you have to pay and if you do, how you should go about repaying it. The following will outline how a claims process works and what you can do if judgment does not go in your favor.

Purpose

If you are in debt to a creditor, they can take legal action against you to ensure they are paid. This is known as a claim. If you should choose to pay off your debt before the hearing then you will not be required to go to court. If however you cannot pay off the alleged debt you will be required to attend a private court hearing in person or mail all required documents to the court. It is important to note that no one is found guilty or innocent in these cases. The court simply determines whether you are to pay your debt or not.

Judgments

If the court finds that you do indeed need to pay your debt to your creditors then they will issue an order stating exactly that. This order is referred to as a county court judgment or CCJ. If you have multiple debts to be paid to separate creditors, the court can issue an administrative order in which you are to make one monthly payment and the payment will be divided between your creditors. If you fail to pay after a CCJ has been issued then the creditors can legally ask the court to take steps to ensure payment is made every month. If you can absolutely not afford the payments then the court can change the amount you are to pay each month or suspend payments until a time when you can afford the payments.

Records

Your county court judgment will go on record with the court system for a total of six years after a judgment has been made unless you can pay off the full amount within a month’s time. This information on record is used by financial institutions to decide whether or not to give you credit and if so, how much.

Disagreements

If a judgment has been ordered against you and you have a genuine concern as to why the judgment was wrong then you can ask the court to delay payments. This usually involves paying an extra fee. If there is not a real reason for your request then it can be charged as perjury and you could face a hefty fine or possible jail time. Make sure you have a valid reason if you plan on filing a complaint. If the court agrees with your concerns then the whole process is repeated until a new judgment is made and no payments are made until the new judgment is delivered.

Credit Record

Although some companies offer services to clear your record of any county court judgments it is urgent you seek outside advice before doing this. In most cases a CCJ can only be stricken from your record if you have surpassed the six year mark, made payment in full within the first month, or had the judgment set aside until another judgment can be made.

As with all financial dealings, it is highly suggested you seek outside counsel from a third party before anything. This includes attending a county court judgment hearing or trying to have the CCJ removed from your record. There a multitude of free counsel services available to residents that should be taken full advantage of.

Andy Gorton is the author and editor of the Bankruptcy Clinic
http://www.bankruptcyclinic.co.uk

Andy Gorton – who has written posts on Bankruptcy Clinic Blog.


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