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County Court judgment (CCJ)

i The advice on this page applies to residents in England and Wales only.

What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?

A County Court judgment (CCJ) is a court order telling you to pay your debt. It is an action your creditors can take in the debt collection process.

You have just over two weeks to respond.

If you do not respond, the court could set payments at a rate you cannot keep up with. And there could be further action taken to collect the debt.

You can only receive a CCJ in England or Wales. There is are different court processes in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Do not panic if a creditor has started court action, but do act straight away.

Received a County Court claim form and need advice?

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Received a letter of claim?

Do not panic.

A'letter of claim' is what a creditor has to send before they can go ahead with a county court claim.

The letter of claim comes in the post and gives details of the debt.

You have 30 days to respond with the reply form they give you.

If you do not respond within 30 days, the creditor can take court action against you.

Use the reply form to:

  • Respond to the creditor
  • If you agree you owe the debt, fill in the enclosed financial statement
  • If you cannot pay the full debt, tell them what you can afford
  • Let the creditor know you are seeking debt help
  • Ask for more information about the debt

You may be able to avoid court action if you can agree a repayment plan.

Identifying Northampton and other county court forms

Creditors often act against debtors in bulk.

The only place they can do this is through the County Court Judgement Bulk Processing Centre in Northampton.

This means many CCJs come from Northampton County Court, but not all.

If you receive forms in the post, check them against this list:

  1. The forms are usually printed on white or blue-and-white paper. They should have the form name at the top and the form number in the bottom right hand corner
  2. There should be four forms in total. They should have these titles:
    • N1 - Claim form
    • N9 - Response pack
    • N9A - Admission (specified amount)
    • N9B - Defence and counterclaim
  3. The top right corner of the N1, N9A and N9B should have:
    • The court name, often Northampton County Court
    • Your name
    • The creditor name, and usually their account number or debt reference number
    • A ‘claim number’ which identifies your case
  4. The N1 claim form should state what you owe. A section called ‘particulars of claim’, which explains the debt

If you do not see particulars of claim on the N1, they may have been sent separately.

If your forms meet all these points, you have received a ‘claim pack'. This means your creditor has applied for a County Court judgment (CCJ).

If your forms do not cover these points, contact the creditor or the court and ask them about it.

Note: With debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act you must get a default notice before creditors can start court action.

Completing the county court claim forms

  • You have 14 days to get the completed N9A or N9B back to the creditor
  • The court allows a few extra days for the claim pack to get to you
  • The exact deadline depends on which court issued the claim
  • You can usually reply online if you cannot reply by post
  • You can also apply for an extension using the ‘acknowledgement of service’ form

Our step-by-step video guide below explains how to complete the CCJ forms. You can also find additional information on our County Court claim process page.

Video: how to complete a CCJ form

What happens next?

If you return the forms:

  • The creditor or court look at your N9A Admission form
  • They agree a payment amount based on the information provided
  • This usually gets paid in monthly instalments
  • As long as you pay on time, there is no further action except:
    • If you are a homeowner, the creditor can apply for a charging order. This secures the debt against your home

If you do not return the forms:

  • The court may set an unaffordable payment amount

Read our advice on dealing with a CCJ to understand your options.

Order to obtain information

The people you owe use an Order to Obtain Information to find out more about your circumstances when you get a County Court judgment (CCJ).

Form N39 ‘Order to attend court for questioning’ gives you a hearing date in at least 14 days’ time. 

You must attend the hearing or tell the court if you cannot make it. If you do not:

  • The court sends you a new hearing date
  • They can arrest you and take you to court if you miss the second hearing

At the hearing, you answer some questions under oath and make an offer to repay the debt. The questions are shown in form EX140 'Record of evidence'.

The people you owe use this information to decide what to do next.

They may consider a third party debt order if you miss CCJ payments but have savings.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a CCJ last?

How does a CCJ affect me?

A CCJ shows on your credit file for six years.

It is also public on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for six years.

This may impact whether you can access credit.

If you struggle to keep to a budget and make your payments, we can help you with free debt advice.

What if I can't afford my CCJ?

If you cannot afford your monthly payments, you can:

  • Apply to change the payment terms
  • Apply to have the CCJ 'set aside' or cancelled

Read more in our can't pay a CCJ section.

Can I get a CCJ while I am on a DMP or TPP?

Yes, you can still get a CCJ if you are on a debt management plan (DMP).

If you are on a token payment plan (TPP), your creditors know you cannot afford bigger payments. They can still take action against you, but it is unlikely the court would ask you to pay more.

Being on either payment plan shows your creditors that you are willing to make regular, affordable payments to your debts.

Can I get help and advice with a CCJ?


We can give expert advice on the County Court claims process and how to deal with a CCJ.

We can also help you with larger financial problems and give you clear, practical advice on dealing with debts.

Get started with free online debt advice at a time that suits you.

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