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i The advice on this page applies to residents of Northern Ireland only.

How to set aside a County Court judgment (CCJ) in Northern Ireland.

Setting aside a CCJ cancels the judgment, and your situation returns to the position you and your creditor were in before. However the debt doesn’t disappear.

You can apply to set aside your CCJ in Northern Ireland if:

  • you’ve already received a CCJ but you want to defend the claim made against you, or
  • you’ve agreed a repayment arrangement with your creditor and want to avoid enforcement.

You’ll need approval in writing from your creditor to do this.

How do I apply to set aside a County Court judgment?

You can apply in writing to the court dealing with your judgment to have it set aside. You’ll need to complete form 129 and pay a one-off application fee of £177.

Your creditors may also direct to you to a free advice agency like us for impartial debt help. The sooner you can get advice the better.

If you need help completing an application to set aside a CCJ, it may be useful to seek legal advice.

Once the court receives your application, they’ll set a hearing. You’ll need to check with your creditor and the court if you’re expected to attend.

If the court agrees to set aside your CCJ they’ll contact the Registry Trust, who maintains the public Register of Judgments, to remove your name.

Your CCJ will automatically be removed from your credit file, but it might take a month for this to happen. It’s worth checking your credit file 6-8 weeks after the judgment has been set aside to make sure it’s no longer there.

You can check your credit file for free online through three credit reference agencies in the UK.

These are:

  • Noddle, which is run by Callcredit
  • ClearScore, which is run by Equifax, and
  • Experian

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How to apply for a stay of execution on a CCJ

Your creditor can enforce a CCJ through the Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO). Being granted a ‘stay of execution’ stops your creditor from doing this.

You’ll automatically be granted a stay of execution if you’ve made a payment arrangement with your creditor through the small claims process.

Or, you can apply for a stay of execution if you’ve reached a payment agreement with your creditor through the standard County Court process.

You’ll need to apply in writing and pay the court fee, which is £177. There’s no official form to complete and return to the court, but if you’re finding it difficult write your application we recommend getting expert legal advice. 

Although a stay of execution prevents further action, it would be more beneficial to get your creditor to agree to set aside the CCJ, s it'll be removed from the public register and your credit file.

Can I get help with the court fee?

If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to have all, or some, of the £177 fee waived. If you receive any of the following benefits, you won’t have to pay the court fee:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Universal Credit

The fee will also be waived if you receive Working Tax Credit, and your pre-tax income is below the threshold set by Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Services (NICTS), and one of the following applies:

  • You receive Child Tax Credit
  • Your Working Tax Credit award contains a disability premium

If you don’t meet the above criteria but you’re on a low income, in receipt of other benefits or paying the fee would cause you hardship, you can apply to have the court fee reduced (also known as fee remission).

The court will take your individual circumstances into account before making their decision. You’ll need to complete form ER1 ‘Application for exemption or remission of a fee’. You can find help and support on how to complete the form and what evidence you’ll need to send on the NICTS website.

The court will write to you and inform you how much you’ll have to pay towards the fee, or explain if your application was unsuccessful.

Help and advice with a CCJ

If you've received a CCJ and you're not sure what to do, we can help. We can offer expert advice on the County Court claims process and how to deal with a CCJ.

We can also recommend debt solutions to help you deal with your debts. Use our online debt advice tool or call our free helpline to speak to one of our friendly debt advisors.

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