Received a letter of claim?
Before a creditor can proceed with a county court claim, they must send you a 'letter of claim' in the post, providing details of the debt.
If you receive a letter of claim, don't panic. You have 30 days to respond with the reply form provided. However, it's important to reply to the letter of claim within the timeframe given, as a creditor can begin court action if you don't.
Use the reply form to:
- Respond to the creditor
- Fill in the enclosed financial statement (if you agree you owe the debt) to make an offer of payment if you can't afford to pay the debt in full
- Let the creditor know you're seeking debt advice
- Request more information from the creditor about the debt, if you need it
If you and your creditor can agree a repayment arrangement from your response, court action can be avoided.
Identifying Northampton and other county court forms
Your creditor should have written to you in advance if they plan to start court action. If the debt is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act you must have received a default notice before court action can start.
Once your creditor actually starts court action, the first you’ll usually know about it is when you receive forms in the post from the court. If this happens you need to act as soon as possible. This is why it’s important to ensure your creditors have your current address, and to open your post straight away when you get it.
If you’ve received forms in the post that appear to be from a court, check them against the following list. If they meet all of these points, you’ve received a ‘claim pack', which means your creditor has applied for a County Court judgment (CCJ).
- There are four forms included, with the following titles printed at the top:
- N1 - Claim form
- N9 - Response pack
- N9A - Admission (specified amount)
- N9B - Defence and counterclaim
They’re usually printed on white or blue-and-white paper, with the form name at the top and the form number in the bottom right hand corner.
- The claim form, admission form and defence form all have the following in the top right corner:
- The name of a court, most commonly Northampton County Court
- Your name
- The creditor’s name, and usually their account number or reference number for the debt
- A ‘claim number’ which identifies your case
- The N1 claim form will state what you owe and normally includes a section called ‘particulars of claim’, which explains what the debt is. Particulars of claim can sometimes be sent separately if they don't appear on the N1 form
If the forms you’ve received don’t have all 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.
Completing the county court claim forms
You have 14 days to get the completed N9A or N9B back to the creditor, but the court allows a few days extra for the claim pack to get to you. The exact deadline depends on which court issued the claim. If you don’t have time to reply by post you can usually reply online, or 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.