Have you been unable to act on debt repayment requests for quite some time? Then, it won’t be wise to ignore your creditors any longer. You would surely have to face quite a lot of trouble, which is not worth it. So, it is always better to get into action and free yourself from debt by legal means. However, if you’re facing financial trouble, you understandably won’t be able to do so.
In such a case your creditors might start a legal proceeding against you. Now, if you had a genuine reason due to which you couldn’t pay, there’s nothing much to worry about. When the County Court Judgment (CCJ) is passed, you can put a defence against it. To get all the useful information, regarding defending a CCJ, you need to keep reading.
How will they proceed with legal action?
When your creditors take you to court, they’ll want to ensure that they recover the amount you owe them. Thus, they make a money claim to the court which contains the essential details of your debt. After that, the court will send you a claim form, which you’ll have to respond to within two weeks’ time.
If you ask them for some time, they might give you another two weeks. If you’re going to make them an offer, you’ll have to do it within this time. Also, make sure it’s reasonable, otherwise, it’s sure to be rejected by the court. Whether it gets accepted or not, in both cases a CCJ will be passed. The decision of how the amount will be collected would be up to the court in case your offer gets rejected. There are different methods to do it based on each individual case.
What actions can the court take?
After judging each case, there are different ways the county court can recover the money from a debtor. Here are a few of the common ones you might face:
Controlled Goods Agreement (CGA)
One of the most common ways for county courts to recover money from debtors is by a CGA. When you keep ignoring payment reminders, the court can send bailiffs to your home. They bring along the agreement and you’re required to sign it. This allows them to take control of the goods in your house after making a list of them. They don’t include the essential goods in this list, but mostly luxury items. These would be sold off to recover the money, in case you’re not able to pay them. If you repay your debt in time, you can get those goods back.
Directly recovering from your income or benefits
Do you have a fixed income or get benefits? In that case, the country court can have the amount directly recovered from it. So, you’ll be receiving a reduced salary or benefit until the money you owe if fully written off. This is done mainly in the case of debtors who refuse to meet the bailiff and pay in person. You’ll be notified in advance before they take this action.
Recovering from your bank account
In some cases, the court can also have the amount recovered from your bank account. Though they will first make sure that you’ll have enough money left to pay for your basic needs. If that’s not the case, they’ll have to go for other options.
By placing a charging order
Your creditors can also request the court to have an unsecured debt secured against your properties. A charging order from the court can give them the authority to do that. In such a case, you might be at risk of losing your home.
Can you stop a CCJ from being issued?
In case you’re wondering, there are actually a few ways through which you can avoid facing a CCJ. That is, stop them from being issued altogether. Repaying the debt amount in full within the time, mentioned in the claim form, is one of them. Another way to avoid a CCJ would be to get an informal payment arrangement with your creditors. Lastly, defending a county court claim can be a way too, provided that you have valid reasons that you shouldn’t face any action, or can prove that you don’t owe any money.
What exactly do you have to mention in the reply form?
It is very important to fill up the reply form in such a way that your side becomes clear to the creditor and is important for defending a county court claim. As such, there are many things that you have to mention in it. The form would have different sections which have questions regarding different matters related to the debt. In the very first section, there will be a question about whether you agree about the debt with your creditor and to what extent, and also whether you had any knowledge about the debt.
This form also gives you the option that you can’t decide on this matter. If you’re going to consult an advisory service, you have to give information about when and from whom, you’re getting it. You must elaborate on the reason, in case you say that you don’t owe them any money.
You also have to include whether you agree with any informal arrangement suggested by the creditor to settle things outside court. Further, you can also give your own suggestion for a settlement, without involving the court. In addition to that, you can send along with it any document that the credit asks from you. If you don’t send them, you are required to explain the reason as well. Moreover, you must mention the points of their claim that you disagree with and the reason why.
How do you serve the documents?
The first thing you must keep in mind for defending a county court claim is that you have to submit a defence form within a limited time period. Otherwise, the court will pass its judgment at its fixed time. So, you must fill up the reply form and serve it within two weeks. In case, you want to defend every point of the claim made by the creditor, it would naturally require more time to prepare for defending a county court claim.
So, in this case, you just have to serve a form, acknowledge the services and choose the option that you want to defend all the claims. This will give you more time to prepare.
What to do when you’re unable to afford the repayment?
In case you’re having trouble affording the money demanded as repayment from the CCJ, you must know that you’re not alone. More people face this situation than you might think. Even though it really is a difficult situation, there is still a way out. That would be possible only when you act instead of ignoring the problem. You can also find good professional advice that can be really helpful for defending a CCJ situation.