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County Court judgment (CCJ). What you should do if you receive a CCJ.

Firstly, don’t panic. If a creditor has started court action, you need to deal with it straight away. However, we can help you.

Importantly, you need to double check that what you’ve received is definitely from a County Court. Does your form match all three points in our checklist?

  1. There's a royal crest and the title 'Claim Form' in the top left hand corner
  2. There’s a court stamp or 'seal' and the name of a court in the top right hand corner
  3. 'N1' is printed in the bottom right hand corner

If all of these things are shown then you’ve received a County Court claim form. This means your creditor has asked for a County Court judgment (CCJ) which will order you to pay back the debt.

If the form you’ve received doesn’t have all three of these features you should contact the creditor or the court that sent it to you and ask them about it, or contact us for advice.

What is a County Court judgment? 

A County Court judgment (CCJ) is a court order sent by a County Court to collect money you owe on a debt. It’s one of the actions your creditors can take in the debt collection process.

If you receive a CCJ you have 14 days to respond. It’s important to respond in the timeframe given, as if you don’t the court could take further action to collect the debt.

You can only receive a CCJ in England or Wales. The process that creditors use in Northern Ireland and Scotland works differently.

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How to fill in your County Court claim form

Part of your County Court claim pack will be an admission form with 'N9A' in the bottom corner. This is the bit you need to fill in and return to explain what you can afford to pay to the debt each month.

The time you have to send back the N9A depends on the court that issued the forms.

  • Northampton County Court Bulk Centre – 19 days from the issue date on the N1
  • Any other County Court – 16 days from the postmark on the envelope

Remember to send the form back to the creditor. Their address will be on the form, under the heading ‘address for sending documents’.

A step-by-step video guide to completing a County Court claim form

The video below is a step by step guide to completing your County Court admission form.

This advice only applies if the amount the creditor is claiming from you is correct. If believe the amount is wrong, you’ll need to defend the claim. This can be more complicated, so contact us for advice.

As you complete your form make sure that:

  • You listen to the video carefully. Pause and rewind it as many times as you need to
  • The information you give in the form is as clear and accurate as possible

What happens next?

Once you’ve returned your claim form the creditor will decide whether to accept your offer. If the creditor doesn’t accept your offer a court officer or District Judge will decide a reasonable rate of payment.

Offer accepted (judgment in acceptance)

If your offer is accepted you’ll receive a County Court judgment (CCJ) from the court telling you to pay by monthly instalments. This form is titled “Judgment for Claimant” (admission).

The amount you'll need to pay each month is the amount that you offered in section 11 on your form.

You should send the payment that you offered to the creditor's address shown on the judgment not to the court.

Offer not accepted (judgment by determination)

If the creditor doesn’t accept your offer the court will decide what you should pay each month. You'll be sent a form titled “Judgment for Claimant” (by determination) and this will tell you the amount you need to pay each month.

If the amount you’re being asked to pay is too high, don’t worry – you can ask for it to be looked at again. Call us and one of our advisors will help you.

I didn't return my form

If you didn't return your admission form, or you forgot to include an offer of payment or sign it, you'll be sent a 'judgment in default'. If this happens the creditor will set the amount you need to pay. They could ask for the full amount straight away or set the payment at an amount you can't afford.

If this happens you need to call us so one of our advisors can help you.

exclamation mark Important things to remember...

  • Send your N9A form back to the ‘address for sending documents’ which appears on the N1. This may be the creditor or their solicitor. Don't send the N9A back to the court.
  • If you’ve used any additional sheets you need to attach these to the form by stapling them. You also need to write your name and the claim number clearly at the top of each sheet. If you’ve added more than one page clearly number each one, for example, 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and so on.
  • Photocopy the form before you send it and keep the photocopy for your records.
  • Send your completed form by first class recorded delivery and keep proof of postage. Recorded delivery adds 95p to the cost of postage. If you can’t afford this, you can ask for a free ‘certificate of posting’ from the Post Office counter.

Complete your forms online

If you don’t have time to reply by post you can reply online (as long as your claim was issued from the Northampton Bulk Centre). You can do this by visiting Money Claim Online and using the log-in details that will be on your N1 form. 

You still have 19 days from the issue date on the N1 to reply online. This can be useful if you’re close to the deadline and don’t have time to get your forms back to the creditor by post.  

question How will a CCJ affect my credit file?

Your CCJ will be added to a public database called the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines within a month. It’ll then appear on the register and on your credit file for a further six years.

Anyone can check the public register to find out if you have outstanding CCJ for a fee of £4.

After six years, the CCJ will be removed from the register and from your credit file, even if you’ve not yet paid it off.

Having a CCJ on your credit file will make it much harder to take out further credit. However, if you're struggling with debt the most important thing is that you get free debt advice to manage your payments. Once you're back in control, your credit file can be repaired. 

Can I remove a CCJ from my credit file?

If you pay the CCJ in full within a month of the judgment, you can apply to have the CCJ removed from the public register and from your credit file.  To do this, you need to apply to the County Court hearing centre which issued the judgment, providing them with proof of payment.  You do this using court form N443 Application for a certificate of satisfaction / cancellation. There’s a £15 court fee to do this, but if you’re on a low income, you may be able to get this for free – see court form EX160A How to apply for help with fees to see if you qualify.

Once the court has evidence you’ve paid the CCJ within a month, they will contact the Registry Trust to remove the judgment from the public register.

If you pay the CCJ more than a month after the judgment, you can’t remove it from the register so it will appear there for six years. During this time, if you do pay it off, you can apply to the court for a certificate of satisfaction as mentioned above. This won’t remove your CCJ from the public register, but it will show anyone who checks the register that it’s been paid off or ‘satisfied’. 

What happens if I can't pay my CCJ?

If you don't keep the payments towards your CCJ up to date, then your creditor can take further action to collect the debt. Find out more about what creditors can do to enforce the debt against you.

Need debt help?

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Try Debt Remedy

Or call our expert debt advisors 0800 138 1111

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