This debt advice applies to individuals in England and Wales only.
When you receive a CCJ from your creditor it is imperative to take matters seriously within the given period. You must also understand the options you can take to deal with it.
Once you get a CCJ as judgment for claimant notice, you can consider the options below:
- Apply to consider changes in the payment terms when you can’t afford the amount required
- Apply to set aside the CCJ or have it canceled, when it should have not transpired in the first place.
- Pay the CCJ as orders by the court
The options listed above are explained in further details in one of our article: What Happens If I Can’t Pay My CCJ?
Paying A County Court Judgment
When returning your court forms within the period provided and have the court or creditors agreed on the amount you offer, this amount will be paid in monthly installments.
If you remain responsible for paying the agreed amount, your creditor will not take further enforcement action against you. if you own a home, your creditor can secure your debt against your property through a charging order. Aside from this, your creditor cannot take further control or enforcement matters within their gasps.
Besides, you must ensure that payments are made to your creditor or their solicitor. The payment terms and details where you can pay are also stipulated n the judgment letter. However, it is highly suggested to ask for your creditor’s bank details and set up a standing payment order from your bank. This allows you to ensure on-time and up to date payments. You can also avoid missing payments if you consider this option.
If there are sudden changes or unexpected events that may affect your payments considerably a loss or reduced income, you have to apply to the court to vary the CCJ.
How much should I offer as payment in a CCJ form?
The amount you can offer as payment in a CCJ form depends on your current financial condition. You might need to create a budget and check whether how much money you have left each month. This way you’ll determine how much is your disposable income. This means you have to list your monthly expenses such as your mortgage or rent, food budget, council tax, and the other essential living costs. Besides, you have to consider your obligations in terms of priority debts.
In deciding for the amount that you can afford, make sure it’s realistic. You have to have something left for your self in cases of emergency. Besides, you must ensure that the CCJ holds a just share of your disposable income the same as with the other non-priority arrears.
What If I Don’t Have Money Left?
If you are scarce and empty-handed, meaning your income can barely suffice your essential living costs, you can resort to a TTP (token offer payment) of £1.
Moreover, the court may decide not to imposed or set installments if determined you don’t have any money left once you pay for all your priority bills and debts. Though you won’t be making any payments, it enables your creditor to directly reinforce the judgment as ‘judgment forthwith’ t0 take further court action to recover the debt. This includes the attachment of earnings order or bailiffs.
What You Should Know About Redetermining or Varying A CCJ?
When applying to redetermine a CCJ, you are requesting to alter or modify the terms of payment when you figured out that it’s unaffordable.
If you fail to send back the admission form within the given period or both the creditor and court disagree with your offer, you can possibly get a CCJ that may not be favorable on your financial condition.
A CCJ may order you to pay a certain amount through monthly installments or pay the entire amount immediately. The term ‘forthwith’ is used on the judgment letter for debts that you need to pay right away in full.
Under such circumstances, you can ask the court to redetermine a CCJ.
The process of redetermination enables you to request for a review of the payments ordered in a CCJ. This allows you to change the payment if deemed too high for your budget. However, this option is only available under the below circumstances or condition:
- The CCJ was a judgment after determination, which will also be stated in the judgment letter. This happens if you’re able to return the court form with the given period yet the creditor refuses to accept your offer, allowing the court to decide on the payment rate.
- Your application was received after the given time frame which is 16 days from the date of judgment on the CCJ judgment letter.
Moreover, if you apply for a redetermination, you can write to the court and enclose a detailed copy of your budget. This is referred to as a redetermination letter. It is important that your budget shows how much you can afford to pay. If you apply for a redetermination letter, a District Judge will handle your case and decide the payment rate. This is when your CCJ was determined and imposed by a court officer. Also, this is usually done without any court hearings.
Conversely, if a District Judge imposed the judgment on your original CCJ at a hearing, you can no longer qualify for redetermination. This instance may be unusual since most CCJ are determined by court officers without court hearings in place.
This process allows the court t alert the installments are determined too high for your income. You can apply for a variation when circumstances arise such as sudden job loss, or any that will affect your income.
The court fee for variation costs £50. If you wish to apply, you have to complete the N245 court form. This form is the same as the N9A admission form, which was sent in the post. The form will need you to complete the details regarding your sources of income and the amount, living costs, total debts, and the payment that you can afford.
After completing the necessary details, you can submit the N245 form with its fee or proof that you are exempted to pay its costs. The court will send the N245 for your creditor to review and agree with the new payments. In case your creditor refuses to agree, the court will decide a fair amount for you and your creditor. When this happens, the court will notify you with the details of the new installments.
So, if you want to prevent your creditor from taking enforcement action, you may need to apply for a variation; otherwise, you will have to pay the same amount in your original CCJ even if you can’t afford it. You must pay the same amount until you get a written notice from the court regarding your new terms of payment. This process can take a few weeks.
Can I Cancel a CCJ?
If a CCJ should never have happened, you can have it canceled and is known as set aside. If your CCJ is canceled, you will be in the same circumstances before the court judgment occurred. This will give you a chance to reason out if you missed to comply with the court forms initially sent.
Conditions to set aside a CCJ
Under the following circumstances, you will be qualified to set aside a CCJ:
- You were not aware of the CCJ that was sent to you. This can happen if you did not inform your creditor of your current address.
- If you were able to pay off your debt and holds pertinent evidence of the payment made
- You quickly respond upon knowing about the CCJ
Additionally, you need a £255 court fee to set aside a CCJ. You must also attend a court hearing. If you’re a low earner, you can waive this payment using the EX160A form that you can fill in online. It is important that you contact us first before considering these options.
Can’t afford to pay a county court judgment or CCJ?
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.