County Court Judgments (CCJs)

If you don’t pay certain debts, your creditor could threaten to take you to court and could get a county court judgment (CCJ) against you. Find out what a CCJ could mean for you and how you may be able to deal with it.

What is a county court judgment (CCJ)?

A county court judgment (CCJ) is a court order that states what you must pay towards an individual debt.

A CCJ can state how much and when the money should be paid, and if it can be paid in instalments. CCJs are often used as a way of recovering non-priority debts, such as credit card debts and pay-day loans.

A creditor is the person or company you owe money to.  Before a creditor can take you to court to get a CCJ they should send you a letter before action or a default notice, depending on the type of creditor it is. If you receive a letter or notice then get advice. You might be able to stop the matter going to court.

I have received court papers saying my creditor is applying for a CCJ. What do I do?

If your creditor decides to go to court to get a CCJ you should receive a claim form and a response pack from the county court. The claim form will give details of how much you owe, including any interest which has built up.  To check if the claim form is real look for a claim number and the court’s official stamp.

If you receive a claim form it is very important that you act quickly because you only have 14 days to send a response back.

If you agree you owe the money
If you can afford to, you might choose to clear the debt straight away. This would avoid a CCJ being made.  To do this, return the form N9A selecting the option to pay the debt in full. Always remember to deal with your priority debts first before paying off non-priority debts.

If you cannot afford to clear the debt in full, you can choose to pay by instalments. You will need to list your income and outgoings on the response form and make an offer for what you can afford after all your essential costs are met.

If your creditor accepts your offer, you may not need a hearing. The court will enter a judgment in the register of judgments.

If your creditor does not accept your offer the court will look at your income and outgoings list and decide what is affordable for you. There isn’t usually a hearing for this.

If you don’t agree with some of the claim
You will need to complete both the N9a admission form and the N9b defence form. You will need to enter the amount you agree to on the admission form. If you cannot afford to pay the amount you agree in full, you can ask to pay by instalments (see above).

If you don’t agree with any of the claim
If you don’t agree that you owe the money claimed you can choose to defend the claim. You will need to complete the N9b defence form. You must have good legal reasons for doing so, for example, the debt has already been paid or you never took out the agreement.

If you need help on responding to the claim then get advice. Act quickly as you only have 14 days to respond. Phone Shelter Cymru’s specialist debt advisers.

If you ignore the claim
If you do not reply within 14 days, your creditor can ask the court to enter “judgment in default”. This will affect your credit rating.

Problems with CCJ payments

If the court orders you to make instalments on a CCJ, it is the creditor’s responsibility to collect them.

Make sure you keep receipts and a record of all the payments you make. Try to make the correct payments, for example if monthly payments have been agreed then you must pay these every month. If you don’t, the creditor can ask the court to take further action to pay your debt and court fees.

This may include :

  • sending bailiffs to your home to take your things away
  • having money taken from your wages to pay the debt. This is called an ‘attachment of earnings order’
  • taking money that you are owed by someone else from your bank account. This is called a ‘third party debt order’
  • securing the debt against your home or other property you own. This is called a ‘charging order’ and means that you could lose your home if you don’t keep up the repayments.

CCJs and your credit rating

Having a CCJ can affect your credit rating and may make it harder for you to obtain credit in the future.

If you pay the debt in full within 1 month of the date of the CCJ, you can apply to the court to have your entry in the Register removed. You’ll need to get a certificate from the court to prove you’ve paid off the debt.

If your entry is removed from the Register, the credit reference agencies will be told and details of your CCJ will be removed from your record.

Changes in circumstances

You can apply to the court to change the terms of your CCJ if your circumstances change.

You can do this, for example, if you can no longer afford the payments or the original decision was made without the court being aware of some important information.

Take steps to avoid a CCJ

Try to negotiate with a creditor who is threatening to take you to court. Make an offer of repayment that you can afford and that you can keep to.

A debt adviser can help you work out an affordable budget.

Use the Money Advice Service budget planner to help you work out how to manage your money and your debts.

If your creditor does apply for a county court judgment (CCJ), find more help on how to respond on the National Debtline.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

This page was last updated on: July 9, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.