If you have debt problems or owe money to someone, the people or creditor you owe money to may take you to court. It is called a route to CCJ via claiming in county court.
It is important that once your creditor takes you to court, you must not ignore it as you could end up with a higher amount of debt with added court fees and legal charges on top of your original debt outstanding. You may end up paying default judgement money which could have been avoided if the proper response has been submitted on time.
Once CCJ (County court judgement) is granted against you, it will appear on your credit report in a separate section of “Public Information” that shows entries of court judgements, bankruptcy and IVA. It remains on your credit report for six years since it got registered on your credit report.
Any CCJ on your credit report negatively affect your credit report and scoring.
Pre-Court Order Notification
Your creditor or someone you owe money to must send you a court action warning letter, it is called a “letter before action”.
There are two parties in a court order claim:
- Claimant – The party who is making a claim against you in the court
- Defendant – The party who is allegedly owed money to the claimant.
Claim Form and Response Pack
When a creditor starts court action, you’ll get many documents from the court. These are a claim form and a response pack. There are usually four sets of forms and these are as follow.
- Claim form
- Acknowledgement of Service (AOS)
- Defence and Counter Claim
Claim Form – N9
The claim form gives details (Of claim) of how much your creditor is claiming you owe them. The response pack contains many forms which include your option to defend the claim or even making a counterclaim if it is relevant.
It is highly recommended that you should not ignore the court’s claim form. You should read it carefully and deal with it in a stipulated period. if you need help, you should contact your debt advisor or take professional help.
It is important to verify that if the claim form is genuine. You can check if it has a claim number on the top right-hand side of the claim form. It should also show the name of the court which has issued it. It should also be stamped by the court. If these are missing then it’s probably not a real court form and your creditor have sent you a dummy form.
The response pack contains the following forms:
- An Admission form – Please fill it correctly if you owe money and are willing to pay via monthly payment instalments
- A Defence form to use if you don’t owe them money and defend the claims
- An acknowledgement of service to confirm that you got the documents. You only need to send this form back if you don’t agree you owe the money.
You must do one of the following within 14 days of the claim being sent:
- Return the defence form to the court together with the acknowledgement of service
- Return the acknowledgement of service only, if you need extra time to fill in the defence form. This will give you an extra 14 days to return the defence form, but you must do this within 28 days of the claim being sent
- Return the admission form to your creditor
- Return both the admission and defence form to the court if you accept you owe some of the money being claimed but not all of it.
You may need help to decide what to do. If you’ve got other debts as well, it’s a good idea to get advice about all your debts in one go.
You can get help to reply to court forms and to sort out your debts from our debt adviser or contact your local CAB office.
If you know that debt account is yours and accept the claim
If the debt on the claim form is yours, fill the admission form with an offer of payment and send it to the creditor /claimant and not to court.
For more information about how to work your affordability, you can contact us on 0203 318 0990 for advice.
If your claimant is accepting your monthly offer payment towards claimed debt liability, they will update the court to make a court order.
The court will confirm in a separate order that how much to pay and address where you must send your payment.
If your claimant does not accept your offer of payment, the court will decide what monthly payment order should be made by you.
If you do not send the admission form, the court orders you to pay the whole claimed amount in full.
Most court orders will be entered in the Register of Judgement, Fines and Orders. This could make it difficult for you to get credit in the future.
If you only agree to part money on the claim form
You may accept that you owe some money to your creditor but disagree with how much.
If you don’t agree that you owe all the money, fill in both:
- the admission form, with tick mark of that you accept the part claim
- the defence form and counterclaim, with details of what you don’t accept and your reasons for challenging the claimed amount or if you wish to make a counterclaim.
In part admission case
You must ensure that you send these forms to the court and not to the claimant.
If the court agrees that you only owe some of the money, a court order will be made for that part. It will be entered in the Register of Judgements, Fines and Orders. This could make it difficult for you to get credit in the future.
If you want to file defence on the claim form – N9 form
If you do not agree that you owe any money to the claimant you should defend the claim by filling your reasonable and appropriate points which are relevant to your defence of the claim. E.g. To send any proof of the paid amount if you have paid the claimed amount already.
The reasoning behind defending a claim may include:
- Confirm that you have already paid the money that your creditor says you owe
- Your identity is not matching on the claim form
- If you think that you never had a credit agreement with the claimant
- You were underage when you signed the agreement
- If the account is under statutory bar condition
If you can file an acknowledgement of service, it will give you extra 14 days to return your defence.
Normally you must file your admission or defence or both within 14 days of receiving it.
You can get help to check you have a proper defence and to fill in the defence form, from an experienced adviser at our office or call the local CAB office.
If you do not do anything after receiving the claim form – N9
If you don’t reply to the claim form within 14 days, your creditor can ask the court for an order to be made against you. It is called “Default Judgement” which means you are now liable to pay all claimed amounts on the claim form.
If you want to defend the claim at later date after default judgement, you can do so but there will be an application to set aside your default judgement.
Once there is a judgement against you, the claimant can also demand an interest rate of 8% on the claimed amount.
If you ignore the claim form and do nothing
Your creditor/claimant can impose the court judgement by following ways, this is called enforcing the judgement.
Your creditor will need another court order to take enforcement action. They may be able to get an order to:
- have money taken from your wages to pay the debt. This is called an attachment of earnings order
- send bailiffs to your home to take your things away
- take money that you are owed by someone else from your bank account. This is called a third-party debt order
- to secure the debt against your home or other property you own. This is called a charging order and means that you could lose your home if you don’t keep up the repayments.
Get Help from our team of experienced debt advisors or contact the local CAB office.
You call us on 0203 318 0990 for free and confidential debt advice. There is no fee for debt consultation. Our team knows what to do to bring your debt problems to the right solution.