How to apply to change the payment terms if you can’t afford them
If you didn’t return your admission form on time, or if the creditor and court didn’t agree with the amount you offered to pay, you may get a CCJ which you can’t afford to pay.
This might be set with monthly instalments you can’t afford, or it might tell you to pay the whole amount straight away. The term 'forthwith' is used to describe this on the CCJ judgment letter.
In most cases, you can ask the court to reconsider but you must act quickly.
There are two ways to ask the court to reconsider the payments:
This process allows you ask the court to review the payments you were told to make to the CCJ and change them if they’re too high. This is free to apply for, but is only available if the following conditions are met:
- The CCJ was a ‘judgment after determination’ – this will be stated on the judgment letter. This means you returned your paperwork on time, the creditor refused your offer and the court made a decision or ‘determination’ about the rate of payment.
- Your application for redetermination is received by the court no later than 16 days from the date of judgment on the CCJ judgment letter.
You apply for redetermination by writing to the court and enclosing a copy of your budget showing the amount you can pay. We have an example letter you can use to do this.
If your original CCJ payment was decided by a court officer, when you apply for redetermination a District Judge will review your case and decide what the rate of payment should be, usually without a hearing.
But if the original CCJ payment was decided by a District Judge, you’ll be asked to attend your local County Court hearing centre for a hearing to decide the new rate of payment.
If original CCJ payments were decided by a District Judge at a hearing, you won’t be able to apply for free redetermination. This doesn’t happen often because most CCJs are decided by court officers with no hearing.
This process asks the court to change the instalments if they’re too high.
You can apply for variation at any time if your circumstances change, but there’s a court fee of £14 for this.
To apply for variation you need to fill in court form N245. This is similar to the N9A admission form you were sent when your creditor started court action, and you need to fill in details of your income, living costs and debts, and make an offer of payment.
- You send the completed N245 form to the court with payment, or with proof that you’re exempt from payment.
- The court will send the N245 form to the creditor to check if they agree with the new instalments. If the creditor doesn’t agree the court will decide a fair payment. Usually this will be done without a hearing.
- The court will then write to you with details of the new instalment. There’s no guarantee the CCJ instalments will be set at the new amount you’ve offered.
To avoid the risk of your creditor starting further enforcement action, if you’re applying to vary the CCJ you’ll need to keep paying the instalments ordered in the original CCJ judgment letter until the court writes to you with details of the new payments. This could take a few weeks.