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i This page applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland

County Court judgment (CCJ)

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

Ignoring a County Court judgment (CCJ) can cause problems.

It goes on your credit file for six years from the date it was issued, and further action can be taken for the debt if you do not pay it.

There are instructions in the claims pack, including the N9a form you use to respond.

If you do not, you lose the chance to:

  • Challenge the CCJ
  • Make a payment plan
  • Pay it off

However, you may be able to vary the judgment later using an N245 form.


document iconNot sure your CCJ letter is official?- View an example N9a court form.     

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What happens if I do not pay a CCJ?

If you do not pay what is owed or make a payment arrangement, further action can include:

  • Bailiffs visiting you
    • Bailiffs can visit your property
    • They can take things from your home if you break a controlled goods agreement
  • An attachment of earnings order
  • Taking instalments directly from your wages

  • A third party debt order.
  • Freezing your bank account

  • A charging order
  • Taking money from the sale of a property or shares

  • A bankruptcy application
  • If you owe more than £5000 and do not pay, creditors can apply to make you bankrupt.

signpost iconWhen a CCJ is raised against you, the court sends you a claims pack with information on how to respond and a deadline. Read our guide to completing County Court forms.

The court can order you attend a hearing to discuss your income and ways to pay the debt.

If you do not attend this hearing, the court will find you in 'civil contempt'.

You will have to pay what is owed immediately.

CCJ enforcement – the County Court and bailiffs

The bailiff may contact you by phone or visit your home.

They should give you another opportunity to pay what is owed.

Many bailiffs will also agree to affordable payment plans.

  • You do not have to let them in
  • They cannot take goods from you without a court order (a controlled goods agreement)
  • They will not have this on their first visit to you

Find out how to deal with bailiffs and their rights and powers.

Attachment of earnings orders and County Court judgments

An attachment of earnings order allows the court to take a fixed amount from your wages.

The court will send you a ‘statement of means’ N56 form, which you use to respond.

Learn more about attachment of earnings orders.

Charging orders and CCJs

A charging order secures the debt against any property you own.

Do not ignore a charging order. It could:

  • Put your property at risk
  • Cause issues when selling

Find out more about charging orders.

How is my credit file affected if I ignore a CCJ?

A CCJ is recorded on your credit file for six years unless you pay it off immediately.

It is also recorded on the Register of Judgments, Orders & Fines. Sometimes called the 'CCJ Register'.

This can impact:

  • Your credit score
  • Borrowing
  • Renting
  • Employment opportunities

You may need a guarantor for credit and rental agreements while a CCJ is on your credit file.

Find out more about how long a CCJ lasts.

What happens if I still cannot pay the CCJ after six years?

A CCJ is removed from the Register and your credit file after six years, even if you have not paid it.

During those six years, the creditor and court can still take action against you.

It is very risky to wait for a CCJ to ‘drop off’ your credit file.

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