When you do not pay your debts to creditors, they are likely to consider legal action through a County Court Judgment or CCJ. This order allows your creditors to recover the debt.
You will be informed about the amount that you owe and the payment deadline. It is imperative that you respond within the given timeframe; otherwise, the debt will be forwarded to the Enforcement of Judgements Office or EJO for collection.
Once your creditor commenced with legal proceedings, you must be quick with your response. Besides, you have enough time to seek debt advice so you’ll be guided on how to deal with it.
What should I do if I receive a Civil Bill?
When creditor considers court action in Northern Ireland, you’ll get a civil bill via post. This serves as a precursor to getting a CCJ. A civil bill determines the debt you owe which normally includes extra charges like court fees and solicitors’ charges, and describes the basis for the claim.
If you acknowledge that you owe the amount of debt declared and you’re capable to pay the entire amount before the given timeline, you can prevent getting a CCJ. In this manner, you’ll give the payment to your creditor and not the court. In doing so, you have examined the civil bill for the accurate address where you’ll be sending the payment
Besides, you have to ensure that you retain a copy of how much you repaid. This can help in case the court ask for proof that you’ve made payments.
What happens if I can’t pay a CCJ?
CCJ is a priority debt since failure to make payments can result in severe consequences. If you can’t pay the entire debt, you can still consider the following means in dealing with your CCJ.
Asking for time to pay
If you agree that the amount stated in the claim is accurate, yet you can’t afford to make payments, you can request for adequate time to settle your debt.
You can reach out to your creditor and negotiate to pay such amount within 21 days of the receipt of the civil bill. If you fail to make any response, the judgment might be imposed and enforcement action can be in place against you.
Though there is no specific form that you can use when requesting a time to pay, you can include your income and outgoing expenses when drafting a request. You may also need to include all your debts and the amount that you can afford to pay. You can also use our sample letter to creditors. Once your creditor agrees to your offer, you can request to have the CCJ cancelled or set aside.
On the contrary, if your creditor rejects the offer, you can try negotiating terms. Though the judgment is in place against you, you’re unlikely to be at risks if you continue to repay what you can afford.
Considering a Tomlin Order
If you receive a civil bill and is unable to pay the debt in full, you can still prevent CCJ when your creditor agrees to a Tomlin order. A Tomlin order is a legally binding agreement wherein your creditor agrees to put your CCJ on hold for as long as you’re compliant with the agreed repayments.
A Tomlin order comprises two sections:
- The consent order
- The schedule
The court awards a consent order binding both you and your creditor as being drawn in the schedule. The schedule includes details such as the amount that you will pay and extra costs added on your debt. If your circumstances changes and you’re incapable to manage your repayments, you may hard to alter these terms. If you neglect to make the repayments, your creditor can commence court actions again.
A Tomlin order has pros and cons and understanding both sides can help you weigh your options.
Defending the Claim
You may object with the claim against you if:
- the claim amount is inaccurate
- you don’t owe the debt
- the debt is statute barred
- you’ve previously paid the whole debt
If you choose to defend the claim, you have to complete form 42 or ‘Notice of intention to defend’, and send it to your creditor within 21 days of receipt of the civil bill. If you’ve obtained a CCJ and you’re thinking to defend the claim, you can appeal to the court to set aside a CCJ.
We greatly suggest you seek reliable legal advice before considering this idea. Defending a claim is a complex undertaking, so you must ensure that you’re in the right path. If you failed to defend a claim, it may cause you spending huge money which is added to your debt.
FAQs on CCJs
How will a CCJ affect my credit file?
A CCJ is visible on your credit file for six years, making it difficult for you to take out new credit or loan
Where will my CCJ be registered?
All CCJs are recorded on the Register for Judgments, Orders and Fines within a month.
What happens if I miss a CCJ payment?
If you neglect to pay a CCJ the court has several ways to enforce a debt through the EJO, including:
- attachment of earnings order
- an installment order
- an order charging land
- seizure order
- an order appointing the receiver
- a garnishee order
CCJ Help and Advice
If it’s hard for you to cope up with the obligations stipulated in your CCJ or you ‘re not sure about what to do when you receive court forms, we can assist you. Should you wish to speak via phone, call us on 0800 193 1024 or check our free debt advice tool.