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County Court Judgement (CCJ)

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A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a court order, issued to encourage a debtor to repay what they owe. If you fail to pay the amount in the allotted timeframe, the CCJ will harm your credit rating and the creditor could resort to further debt collection methods.

What is a CCJ?

What is a CCJ?

Creditors file CCJs in an attempt to recover unpaid debt. CCJs can be filed against companies and individuals. The county court must be convinced there is a debt to be paid before approving and issuing the order.

The order should include details of how much is owed, who it is intended for, the payment deadline, and whether you can pay in instalments or the full amount is required immediately.

The deadline for payment is usually 30 days after the CCJ is issued. Exact details of your specific deadline will be stated on your email or letter from the court.

What to do if you have a CCJ

If you’re in any amount of debt, your creditors are likely to have issued warnings in the form of letters or default notices, before resorting to a CCJ. Upon receiving a CCJ, you should act immediately.

Respond to the court’s email or letter by the date specified. Usually, this is within 14 days of receipt of the letter.

If you believe the CCJ was sent in error and you don’t owe any money, you should ask the court to cancel or set aside the judgement. If you do owe money, you should pay it back in full, or in instalments if the judgement will allow.

Never ignore a CCJ. Failing to pay or respond to the judgement will lead to creditors resorting to further debt collection methods and will harm your credit rating.

How can a CCJ affect me?

The best way forward if you receive a CCJ would be to pay the outstanding amount within 30 days of the notice. While a CCJ doesn’t force a debtor to repay their creditors, there can be lasting effects if you don’t act immediately.

A CCJ’s impact on your credit rating

If you pay the owed debt within the 30 days, the CCJ is cleared, and there won’t be a lasting impact on your credit file. If you don’t pay within the timeframe, the CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years. Making it harder for you to get credit, and you risk being charged a higher interest rate on any credit you do get.

Sole trader activities

If you’re working as a sole trader, a CCJ can threaten not just your business, but also your personal finances. Sole traders aren’t protected by the limited liability found in a limited company; both you and your business are considered the same legal entity. If you’re issued with one, you’ll be expected to use your personal finances to repay the debt if your business funds are insufficient.

Failing to pay off the CCJ means your creditors could take further insolvency action against you, which may include petitioning you into bankruptcy. You may have to apply for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) to prevent this.

A CCJ’s effect on a company

If the CCJ is filed against a limited company, the limited liability should protect you personally, unless Personal Guarantees are in place.

While a CCJ can’t force your company to repay its debts, it does give bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers justification to visit your premises and potentially seize assets.

Failure to pay the debt could result in creditors pursuing further insolvency measures and could even result in the issuing of a winding-up petition.

CCJs are registered on the public ‘Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines’, or ‘CCJ Register’. This register can be viewed by anyone and being on it could harm relationships with suppliers and customers and deter potential investors.

As with personal finances, a CCJ could impact your company’s credit rating and make it harder to access funding options going forwards.

In summary

A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is an order issued by a county court to encourage a company or individual to repay outstanding debt. While the order doesn’t force the repayment, you could face serious, long-lasting consequences if you don’t pay back the outstanding amount. A CCJ will remain on your credit file for six years if you don’t settle within 30 days, which could lead to creditors resorting to further insolvency measures such as bailiffs or a winding-up petition.

How we can help

You should never ignore a County Court Judgement; what creditors do in response to that inaction would be far worse than just repaying the debt. If you’ve been issued with a CCJ, are unable to repay the amount, or are unsure what to do next, you should speak to us immediately, and our experienced advisors will set you on the path best for you.

Authored by Lisa Hogg

Lisa Hogg

Director & Licensed Insolvency Practitioner