County court claim forms
Receiving a CCJ can be frightening – especially if you don’t understand what it means or what you have to do next.
Although it can be alarming to receive a County Court Claim Form, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to go to court.
The majority of County Court Claims are dealt with by post. Nevertheless, you will have to ensure that you make the appropriate response otherwise this could result in a ‘Judgement in Default’ meaning the court may set a higher amount for you to pay. Along with the County Court Claim Form you will receive an ‘admission’ form (N9A) and a defence form (N9B). You should fill in and return one of these forms within 16 days of the postmark date:
If you agree with the amount owed
In this instance you would fill in form N9A. The documents you receive will include details of how to do this and the address that the completed form should be sent to. If you cannot afford to repay the debt in full you should enter an amount that you can afford. There is an area on the form where you need to enter your income and expenditure so that the court can assess your offer of payment.
If the lender accepts your offer of payment this will result in a ‘County Court Judgement’ against you. You should then receive an ‘acceptance of offer’ form detailing how much you have to pay and when. If the lender does not accept your offer of payment then the court will reach a decision regarding the amount to be paid.
If you disagree with the amount owed
To dispute the amount you must complete form N9B and return it within 16 days. The court will then set a date for a hearing, which will result in a Judgement by the court. You can request a further 14 days to prepare your defence by filling in the ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ form and returning it within 16 days.
If you agree but cannot afford to pay anything
In this case you can apply to have the judgement set aside by filling in form N244 from the County Court and paying an appropriate fee. If you cannot afford to pay the fee you have to prove that payment would cause you hardship. This course of action also results in a court hearing, which you would have to attend.
If you fail to make the payment that has been agreed following Judgement, the lender can apply to the Court to enforce Judgement in order to recover the debt. However, if your circumstances change after Judgement has been made, you can apply to have payments reduced using County Court form N245.