While many County Court Judgments (commonly referred to as a CCJ) are correctly issued, there can be some occasions where the judgment is issued in error or issued to the wrong person. In some circumstances it may be possible to have the CCJ set aside but I’ll get into that a little later. Firstly, what exactly is a County Court Judgment?
What is a County Court Judgment?
If a claim is issued against you in the County or High Courts, you are placed under strict deadlines to respond to the claim.
In the event you fail to file an Acknowledgment of Service and/or a Defence within the prescribed time limits, then the Claimant will be able to enter Judgment in Default against you. This will result in a County Court Judgment being entered against you. The Claimant will then be able to enforce that Judgment to obtain payment. This could involve instructing bailiffs to attend your property to seize goods to the value of the Judgment.
If the Claimant enters Judgment in Default, the Court will not look at the merits of the claim. Judgment will be obtained simply because you have failed to comply with the procedural requirements as set out in the Civil Procedure Rules. This can lead to Judgments being obtained against a Defendant, even if the Defendant has a valid defence to the claim.
Effects of a County Court Judgment
The effect of a CCJ can be very substantial, as it can affect your credit history and make obtaining credit more difficult in the future. If you apply for a loan, mortgage or credit card, the lender will undertake a credit check against you and if a CCJ shows up, it is unlikely that you will be offered credit. A CCJ will remain on your record for six years.
Can I Set Aside a County Court Judgment?
If a CCJ is entered against you and you have a valid defence to the claim, for example, if the judgment was entered in error or your debt was paid before the court date, it is possible to make an application to Court to set aside the Judgment. However, it is very important that you act promptly in making such an application.
The Court will apply the test set out in Part 13 of the Civil Procedure Rules and this involves consideration of whether you have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim.
If you would like to look at the prospect of setting aside a County Court Judgment made against you, it is vital you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best chance of being successful in your claim. To discuss your case with one of our experts please contact our commercial litigation department on 0845 050 1958. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.