If a creditor wishes to issue a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against a company an application must be made at the Court. If the Court believes the claim is valid a notice of the application is sent to the company. This should not be ignored.
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How to recognise a CCJ Claim Notice
It should be easy to recognise that your company has received a CCJ claim. The documents are normally blue and white in colour and are four pages long. The first page is known as form N1. It will show the Court Reference and stamp.
Form N1 will also give details of the creditor and the amount of debt including additional costs they are claiming. There will be correspondence address which will normally be the solicitor acting on behalf of the creditor. In addition to the N1 form there will be some other forms that are to be used for responding to the Claim.
You must respond to a CCJ Claim notice within the time scales required. If you do not the Court will have no choice other than to accept its validity. The Judgment will then be made. The immediate repayment of the debt plus costs will then be required. The company will incur additional costs to try and change this.
How to respond to a CCJ Claim
If you believe that the company owes the debt then you need to respond to the claim using the Admission form (N9A). This form allows you to confirm that you owe the debt. You have to state if you intend to pay immediately in full. If the company is unable to do this it can offer instalments based on the its financial position.
If you disagree with some or all of the amount claimed you will need to use the Defence and or Counter Claim form (N9B). This allows you to explain to the court why you feel the debt is not owed. A date will then normally be set for a hearing where your arguments can be heard.
At the hearing a Judge will decide whether the company owes the debt or not. If it is ordered to pay the debt then payments terms will have to be agreed.
Can a CCJ be overturned?
If your company has received a County Court Judgment which you feel has been issued in error it can be overturned. However the only way to do this is to make an application to the Court.
You will need to complete a form known as N244 and pay a fee of £155. You will also have to go to a private hearing at the court to explain why you do not owe the money.
You may agree that the company owes the debt but you require more time to pay it. In this case you will need to apply for a variation of the CCJ. You can do this by submitting an variation application (form N245) to the Court. The company will have to pay a Court fee of £50.