It is possible to receive a CCJ when a creditor issues a claim (against you), and you don’t respond. A CCJ will contain details on the amount owing, who the money is owed to, how you are expected to pay, and the date that you need to settle the amount owing. A record of a CCJ will be held for a maximum of 6 years on something known as the Register of Judgments, Orders, and can have an impact on whether you can obtain credit in the future.
If you can settle the CCJ within a month, it can be removed from this register. If you are only able to settle the debt after a month, your CCJ will still appear in the register, but be marked as “satisfied”. It will still appear for 6 years.
How To Get A CCJ Set Aside
If you feel that you do not owe any debt, or you did not receive any claim forms, you can choose the option of applying to get the CCJ cancelled (set aside). To get a CCJ set aside, an application form will need to be sent to court, and you will need to pay a fee of £255 to the court. Your application form must include information on your reasons to have the CCJ set aside and include evidence and paperwork that may be of relevance. You might be required to be present for a hearing so that you can explain the reasons why you do not agree with the CCJ or the reason why the claim was not delivered to you (for example, it was sent to the wrong address).
If the court has made a decision that nothing is owing, or the service or claim is disputable, the CCJ will then be cancelled or set aside. The court can also decide that the amount owing in the CCJ is not correct. If this happens, they will issue another CCJ containing the right amount owed.
Paying What You Owe By Monthly Installments
If you agree on the amount owed, it is best to pay the money before the deadline that is specified. If you cannot come up with the money within a month, you can also apply to pay the CCJ in installments or lower the amount of the installments when they are set unreasonably high. This will require sending the court an application form and paying a fee of £50 to the court. Alternatively, you can agree to the claimant’s installment payments, so they do not enforce a judgment.
If you make such an application, it has to include information about your expenditure and income and indicate the amount you will be able to pay in installments each month. If your creditor agrees to the monthly installments proposed, the court will then draw up a CCJ that includes these amounts.
If the creditor does not agree with the proposal, the court then decides on monthly payments that they believe are fair. While the application is in process, it is advisable to carry on making payments towards your debt to stop the creditor from taking enforcement action.
If you ignore the CCJ, your creditor may go ahead with an enforcement CCJ action. This could include instructions to bailiffs to come to your home to retrieve the debt. You will first be served with a warrant that will notify you that bailiffs will attend your property. With this order, you will only have 7 days to settle the debt. As long as you respond to this order agreeing to repay your debt whether outright or by installments, the warrant will then be stopped.
If you own a home, your creditor can also make an application to secure your CCJ against the property that you own. They could also make an application to the Court to have the installments deducted directly from either your bank account or from your employer every month. If the debt that you owe is over £5,000, the creditor could make an application to force you into bankruptcy (following an unsatisfied attempt or service of a statutory demand to execute against the assets that you own by the High Court enforcement officers or the bailiff).
However you handle a CCJ, it is very clear that delaying the response or ignoring one can lead to serious consequences. This is why it is best to deal with your CCJ as quickly as possible.
In many cases, the best approach is to contact the claimant so that you can agree on installments when possible since this will ensure the money that you owe is kept to the minimum. In certain cases, where you were either vulnerable or you have not been well, the claimant might agree on freezing the interest or even accepting an amount that is lesser, despite what the judgment says.
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