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i England and Wales only

England and Wales court action

Court action in England and Wales to collect debt

The people you owe can take court action if you do not come to a payment agreement. This is usually a last resort.

The people you owe issue a claim in the county court when they start court action.

  • They can only do this after your account defaults
  • This is for most types of unsecured consumer debt, like:
  • Credit cards
  • Overdrafts
  • Payday loans

They must send you a 'letter of claim' in the post first.

This includes:

  • Details of the debt
  • A reply form

Fill this in and return it straight away

They can start court action if you do not respond within 30 days.

You will then get court forms in the post :

This will:

  • Explain what you owe, and
  • Ask for information about your circumstances

Fill in and return these straight away

You only have a short time to do this

You can defend the claim if you dispute a debt, but get specialist advice before you do this.

The court will issue a County Court judgment (CCJ) telling you how much to pay and when.

If you do not respond to these court forms:

  • The court will not understand your situation
  • You may have to make payments you cannot afford

If you are considered vulnerable, you can ask that the people you owe stop enforcement action.

You can use our sample letter to do this.

What happens if I cannot pay a CCJ?

The people you owe can take further action if you do not pay a CCJ.

We cannot help if you cannot pay your CCJ.

Find out more about what a creditor can do.

Get help straight away if you think the people you owe will start court action.

See our guide to responding to a court claim.

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