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How to obtain a County Court Judgment (CCJ)

As a business, unpaid invoices can cause a raft of issues, such as cash flow problems that can make it difficult for you to pay your own bills or make payroll. If you have tried late payment demands and followed the appropriate pre-action protocol for debt recovery, but have been unsuccessful, the next stage is to take further legal action against the debtor. While most debt recovery cases are resolved well before this stage, sometimes unpaid invoices legal action is the only option for a business trying to get back the money they are owed and legally entitled to. A brief summary of how to get a CCJ is outlined below.

If you have sent your letter before action or letter of claim, depending on whether the debtor is another company or an individual, and no payment is forthcoming before the deadline set out, you can then issue a formal legal claim for the money owed to you. You can also include any interest on the unpaid invoice that is owed to you in the debt claim. Once the court fee is paid, your claim can be issued.

The debtor will be notified of the claim and given a set period of time within which to pay the outstanding sum, offer a repayment proposal, accept or partially accept, or defend the claim. If they fail to respond within the deadline or repayment terms are not agreed, you can request the issuing of a CCJ.

For more information about debt recovery or how to issue a CCJ, the expert team at Stephensons can help. Call us today on 0161 696 6170.

 

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More about how to serve a county court judgment (CCJ)

As mentioned above, you are only able to take county court action against a debtor if you have followed the correct procedure up to this point i.e. used the appropriate pre-action protocol first. Then your claim can be filed, and the debtor has 14 days in which to decide how to respond (if at all).

The debtor has several set ways in which they can respond:

  • Pay the debt in full
  • Acknowledge the claim (in full or part) and agree repayment terms
  • Acknowledge the claim and ask for an extension of another 14 days
  • File a defence against the claim
  • Ignore the claim and fail to respond at all

If payment is received or repayment terms are agreed, there is no need for a CCJ to be issued, as the claim is considered to have been accepted. If repayment terms cannot be agreed, the debtor refuses to pay within the deadline or ignores the claim, a CCJ can be issued by the court.

If the debtor defends the claim, a judgment needs to be made by the court to decide whether the claim is valid. If they rule in your favour, and the debtor still does not pay what is owed, an CCJ can be issued.

Once a CCJ has been issued by the court, this can be enforced if the debtor still does not pay or breaks the terms of the CCJ. For example, you may require a Warrant of Execution from the court in order to take bailiff action against the debtor. You can find out more about the CCJ judgment process and execution options here.

Stephensons are experienced commercial debt solicitors and we can help ensure that every step of the debt recovery process is approached correctly, giving your business the best possible chance of a positive outcome. If you want more information on how to get a county court judgement against a debtor, or how to approach the enforcement process, call us on 0161 696 6170.

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