One of the most important things to know about County Courts are County Court Judgements (CCJs) and the amount of time they are listed on the County Court Judgement records. The following is a run through of the procedure around CCJs. (Any legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.)
If a County Court decides that compensation is due they will review the most appropriate way for the claimant to receive the money. The County Court’s decision of repayment is called a County Court Judgment order.
For a defendant who cannot pay, a two week deadline is given in which they can apply for redetermination free of charge. Redetermination will start with a hearing in a local County Court where the case will be re-evaluated by a judge. In order to apply for redetermination the defendant will need to ensure that they do the following;
- write a letter to the County Court explaining their reasons for not being able to pay
- provide relevant financial evidence for redetermination
- quote their case number.
In circumstances where an individual has large amounts of debt or more than one CCJ, the County Court has the power to set an administrative order that combines all of the debts into a one off, lump sum, monthly payment that will pay all claimants.
For this service the court will charge a handling fee of 10% from the total debt. Administrative orders can only be obtained if the debt is £5,000 or less.
For those who find it hard to pay off their administrative order there are a few options available, which are the:
- N245 form – which requests the court to lower the monthly repayment to a more reasonable sum
- N244 form – which if successful allows the court to freeze the administrative order until repayment can be afforded
If you disagree with a CCJ it is possible to request the court to remove the order. This involves a fee, and if the request is thrown out by the court the defendant can be charged with wasting court time and even perjury, which would result in a large fine and/or a prison sentence.
County Court Judgement records
Once a person has received a CCJ, it will stay on the County Court Judgement records for a time period of 6 years, unless it is paid within a month of receiving it.
A person has their CCJ placed in the County Court Judgement Records unless the judgement is itself discarded. To have a CCJ set aside means that the recipient has requested that the County Court disregard the judgement.
A CCJ can be taken off the County Court Judgement records only if there has been a mistake in the court procedure such as a judgement being issued even though a defendant has requested more time, or if the court failed to send out the right papers.
Any legal advice concerning having a CCJ set aside should emphasise that it does not stop the claimant form restarting the claim all over again. This could just delay the investable and mean the defendant ends up with the blight of a CCJ on the County Court Judgment records for longer. There is an additional court fee of £75 for this service.
The only other way to have a judgement removed is to pay the amount owed within a month. It is up to the defendant to inform the court that the CCJ has been taken care of, as the claimant may not feel that way inclined. If the amount owed is paid after a month, the judgment will remain on the County Court Judgement records but will be listed as having been satisfied.
Finding the right solicitor, who has relevant experience and can give expert advice, will help with the overall success of a claim. The cost of a solicitor should not be as large a concern as you might think – most offer their services on a no win, no fee basis. In some cases the defendant will also be liable to pay both sides’ legal costs on top of compensation.