The County Courts are types of court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which deal with civil cases. They are dealt with by a judge or district judge, and hear cases such as;

  • Landlord and tenant disputes, such as rent arreas
  • Consumer disputes, for example faulty goods
  • Personal injury claims
  • Debt problems

It won’t come out of the blue……. (hopefully)

If you have had problems paying your bills, and don’t worry a lot of us have, then don’t worry. You will be warned by your creditors first, which will probably take the form of a warning letter. This letter will let you know what you need to pay, otherwise legal action might start. This letter is known as a default notice, or a letter before action.

This letter should provide you with information about how you can repay what you owe. However, if you think you are going to find it difficult to pay back your creditors, then definitely seek advice from places like the Citizens Advice Service – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ and the Money Advice Service – https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en.

 

The process of a County Court Order then Judgement

If you have been unable to resolve your issues with creditors then you will receive a County Court Claim. You will need to reply to the Claim Form within 14 days, which includes Income and Expenditure forms, detailing your incomes and outgoings. At this stage you can; Admit to the claim, File a defence, or try to delay by 14 days by Submitting an acknowledgement of service.

If you do end up going to court, you could be issued with;

  • A judgement by instalments, where you have to pay the debt off over time, or
  • A judgement forthwith, where the whole amount you owe is due immediately

 

What is the impact of a County Court Judgement on you Credit Rating

If you owe someone money and have a court rule that you have to pay it back, you might have a County Court Judgement against you. This could seriously affect your credit rating, and therefore make it difficult for you to borrow money. Importantly, this can have serious consequences across a range of services, such as signing up for mobile phone contracts, getting access to credit services like credit metered energy, and applying for a mortgage.

 

What if my County Court Judgement was ages ago

If your CCJ was over 6 years ago, the it will no longer appear on the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines. If you paid the debt back in full you can also apply to have the CCJ removed against your name, similarly if you don’t owe any debt or paid the debt back with in 1 month of the CCJ being issued.

 

Get Advice!

If you think you are going to face debt issues, the first thing you should do is get some advice. Otherwise, also check all your outgoings and see where you could make some quick and easy savings. One example would be checking if you can switch to a more competitive energy or mobile tariff, for example. Inform your creditors, such as your utility companies, if you think you are going to struggle to pay your bills as well. They can often provide flexibility and advice themselves. 

There are plenty of resources available to help people struggling with their finances, so remember you are not alone. For example, you can check out useful blogs like – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ – for ideas on how to save.


Also published on Medium.