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NOTE: The Insolvency Experts can offer specialist advice to company directors dealing with bailiffs or a CCJ in regard to business debt. If you are an individual who is seeking advice on matters related to bailiffs, we would recommend seeking guidance from the Citizens Advice Bureau, available here.
What is a CCJ (County Court Judgement)?
A CCJ is usually instigated by a creditor of your company, who has been unsuccessful in their attempts to recover a debt due.
If your company does receive a CCJ, its credit rating is likely to be impacted. Providing the CCJ is against the company, your personal credit rating should remain unaffected unless you have provided the benefit of a personal guarantee in respect of the debt.
- A County Court Summons will be issued to the company in an attempt to recover the debt
- You will be given 14 days to respond, although you can request a further 14 days extension
- If you are unable to negotiate or do not respond, and the Court deems the debt valid, a CCJ will be issued against your company
- Once the CCJ is awarded, you will be given 30 days in which to pay the debt in full, or the Court will register the CCJ, which will significantly impact your company’s credit rating
- If the debt remains unpaid during this period, this is seen as evidence of your company’s insolvent position
- This may result in the creditor taking further action in the form of a winding-up petition which could quickly result in Compulsory Liquidation and the closure of your company
If your company is threatened with a CCJ, the Court paperwork should be completed and returned as soon as possible.
If negotiations with the creditor are unlikely to be successful during the 14 day response period, it is imperative that you seek professional advice.
There are a range of formal insolvency solutions that may save your company in the event of a CCJ being awarded.
At The Insolvency Experts, we are happy to arrange a free consultation either at your local office, or a location convenient to you.
If your company is issued with CCJ proceedings, be mindful of the following:-
- Respond within 14 days (or request a further 14 day extension)
- Check the amount is correct
- Dispute the debt if you have a valid reason to do so
- Attempt to negotiate in writing or by telephone to pay by instalments, although if the matter has reached this stage, successful negotiations are uncommon
- Hire a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner to negotiate on your behalf, and also to provide you with a number of alternative solutions, depending on your company’s circumstances
Remember, having an unsatisfied CCJ registered against your company will significantly impact its ability to trade. Upon registration, the CCJ will sit on your company’s credit file and will be visible to any suppliers that may otherwise offer credit terms.
The wealth of legal and financial qualification across our team ensures that we operate within all of the required legal guidelines while providing cost-effective and timely guidance. Our personable financial experts ensure you are given helpful and relatable advice that keeps you up-to-speed throughout the process. We offer peace of mind at a stressful moment through working to find a financial outcome that satisfies creditors, the government, shareholders and directors whenever possible.
We understand that many companies find themselves insolvent through no fault of the directors, so if circumstances have brought on financial difficulties, we help our clients to find a workable financial solution. If you want to discuss our available insolvency practitioners Bolton services, get in touch with us today. We act on behalf of our clients to find the best possible solution to their current financial difficulties.
Our expert financial staff are available to discuss options surrounding Liquidation, Administration and a range of other services we provide, with this advice offered through a free initial consultation. Additionally, if you are seeking an estimate on the price of a Liquidation process for your company, you can make use of our free quote calculator.
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4 Key Questions on CCJ
When can a creditor issue a County Court Claim?
If you have not settled a debt with someone, you may be issued with a County Court Claim. They shouldn’t come unexpectedly, as the creditor must send you a warning letter first, informing you that you must settle your debt with them, otherwise they will proceed with legal action.
Your creditor should have either sent you a default notice or a letter before action (which one of these depends on the nature of the debt). The letter should inform you how you can settle the debt, and their intended proceedings if the debt isn’t settled. If you receive one of these letters you should act upon it – if you’re unaware of your options you should seek the advice from a qualified Insolvency Practitioner.
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What is the best way to deal with a County Court Claim?
As with most debt matters, it’s imperative to seek professional advice straight away before the CCJ process advances. The earlier you deal with these matters the more options that are available to you, including looking into how to stop a county court judgement or even achieve a county court judgement removal.
One main way to have a CCJ suspended is through a Stay of Execution. Check out our detailed blog post on ‘What is a Stay of Execution?’ to learn how these work and how you could use them to stop a County Court Judgement.
You should always respond to a claim of this type, as it allows you to put your circumstances forward to the Court, often influencing the terms of the settlement. If you do not respond, and simply ignore the letter or notice, the court can still issue the judgement against you or your company. If they have not been made aware of your circumstances, they may simply order for the debt to be settled in one go, rather than spreading out the payments.
Once you receive your Claim Form, you have 14 days in which to issue a response. With the form, there is usually an Income and Expenditure form, which allows you to detail your money in and money out. Completing this form helps the courts to decide on the payment amounts and how frequently they will be making payments towards paying off the debt.
In responding to a Claim Form, you have the option to admit the claim, agreeing that you owe the amount stated. You may also file a defence, if you do not agree with the amount owed – should you choose to go down this route it’s essential that you seek advice from a professional in order to assist with the negotiations.
There is also an option to submit an acknowledgement of service, which informs the court you will defend the claim, but require longer than the 14-day period. Should the order be granted, and you still receive the judgement, the Court has power to enforce payment, either by instalments, or “forthwith”, whereby the total is due immediately.
What should I do after being issued with a CCJ?
Should you be issued with a CCJ, and do not stick to the terms set out within it, the creditor can request that the court enforce the debt. This can be by way of Bailiff action, a charging order or attachment of earnings.
Under a CCJ process, a creditor can request the court of a bailiff to collect the debt. A bailiff can only collect debts when the courts permit and issue a Warrant of Execution. Only once this has been issued does a bailiff have the power to visit your business (or home depending on the debt) to collect the money you owe.
Should a bailiff visit your home or business you should call us immediately to understand your rights and seek efficient advice. Alternatively, the creditor can request that a charge be secured against an asset (usually property), whether the asset is owned outright or has outstanding finance (such as a mortgage or debenture). The final option is an Attachment of Earnings Order, whereby the money is deducted directly from your wages by your employer.
Where do I get the right advice on a county court judgement process?
If you receive a County Court Order or any of the enforcement letters in the CCJ process, it is very important to get professional advice at the earliest stage possible. In our experience, the after-effects of a CCJ can significantly damage a business and its trading activities, so it is always useful to look into how to stop a county court judgement, or county court judgement removal, or even how to best go about arranging payment terms.
A qualified Insolvency Practitioner will be able to give you the best advice for your specific business circumstances. So, for more information on the CCJ process, please contact our expert team at The Insolvency Experts by email on email@example.com or call our team of specialists directly for more information on 0300 303 8284.