A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a stage of debt recovery that means a court has been contacted and is now responsible for dealing with the debtor. It can be received in paper or email form, and will contain a statement of the amount owed, how conditions have not been met, what the proposed payment system is (in full or via a payment plan) and a date by which the debtor must contact the court and arrange to pay.
If a debtor misses this deadline, they run the risk of the court taking further action against them. A CCJ can only be issued for debts of up to 6 years old; otherwise, the debt may be statute barred and will need further legal consideration.
There are a number of options for repayment, including paying in full or arranging a payment plan in instalments.
Why is a CCJ beneficial for creditors?
If you’re owed money from rent arrears or another arrangement, and you’re struggling to recover the debt or trace the debtor, a County Court Judgement can be a very helpful tool for resolving the issue quickly and effectively. It also allows someone else to get involved, taking the onus of debt recovery off your shoulders.
A CCJ is highly beneficial for a creditor. If the terms of your tenancy agreement or other payment setup have not been met and you have given the debtor fair warning (this usually means 7 to 14 days when they have the chance to pay the funds), the court system can be a much-needed ally.
Debtors cannot ignore a CCJ, so you are more likely to get your money back quickly, and they will step in and help make the process as smooth as possible. A CCJ can negatively affect a debtor’s credit rating, so it is in their interest to respond and resolve the issue before it escalates to court.
How to get a CCJ
If you’re a creditor having difficulties recovering debt, it might be time to get a CCJ. Before you do, you need to have issued either a default notice or a warning letter – which one you choose depends on the type of debt you’re dealing with – a default notice is for credit debts such as a loan or other credit arrangement.
If you have issued a precursory warning letter and have still yet to recover the debt, a CCJ is your next port of call.
You can apply for a CCJ online by visiting the government page for making small claims. You’ll need to fill in the N1 claim form and submit it electronically. If you prefer, you can also download the form and print it out and send a paper copy to the address on the page.
What happens if the CCJ terms are not met?
If, after receiving a CCJ, your debtor is still unable or refuses to pay the debt, you can get in contact with the court who will take charge of the next steps of recovery. This may involve sending enforcement agents round to claim back property.
You could use an independent debt recovery agency such as Able Investigations, who have a fast turnaround compared to government-run enforcement, and a 99% success rate of debt recovery.
An alternative may be an Attachment of Earnings Order where the money owed is taken from the debtor’s wages in a forced instalment plan.
If you need help with a CCJ or recovering debt, please get in touch with Able Investigations. We have years of experience in helping creditors retrieves money owed quickly and efficiently. We would be happy to answer your questions, so call us on 0845 370 7401, email us or use our contact form.