What Happens After I Issue A Claim And/Or Obtained A CCJ?

If you have recently issued a Court claim or obtained a County Court Judgment (CCJ), you may be wondering what happens next. We are here to guide you through the process step by step. From the point your claim has been issued through to exploring different methods of enforcement. We will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the legal landscape.

What Happens After a Claim is Issued?

After your claim is issued by the Court, the Court will post the claim to your debtor. The debtor will deemed to have been served by a date set by the Court but is typically within 5 days from the date the claim is issued. Once served with the claim, your debtor has 14 days to respond to the claim. They may choose to admit liability and offer payment in full or part-settlement. If they do not respond within the given time period, you have the option to request a default Judgment from the Court.

If your debtor files an Acknowledgement of Service, this will give them a further 14 days to file a defence. This means they will have a total of 28 days to deal with the claim. Should your debtor simply ignore the claim, you may obtain a County Court Judgment (CCJ).

Obtaining and Enforcing a CCJ (County Court Judgment)

A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is an official legal document that states that your debtor owes you money. It is important to note that receiving a CCJ does not guarantee immediate payment.

The CCJ will outline how much money is owed, plus any additional costs or interest. You should keep this document safe as it serves as evidence of the debt owed to your business. 

Once you have obtained a CCJ, you can now consider various methods of enforcement to recover the debt. These methods include:

1. High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO): The High Court Enforcement Officer (known as the HCEO) is the preferred method of enforcement for the majority of County Court Judgments (CCJs). The HCEO is an employee of a private company licensed by the High Court to enforce debts with a value of over £600 (unless the debt is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act and under £25,000).

2. County Court Bailiff: Unlike the High Court Enforcement Officer, a County Court Bailiff can enforce debts under £600 or debts under that are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act and under £25,000. They will often only make visits during office hours whereas a High Court Enforcement Officer is more flexible.

3. Attachment of Earnings Order: If the debtor is employed, this order allows deductions to be made directly from their wages by their employer until the debt is repaid.

4. Charging Order: If the respondent owns property, this order secures your debt against it so that when they sell or remortgage, they must repay what they owe. It’s important to note that a Charging Order may also be registered against stocks and shares, it does not have to be placed on a property.

5. Third-Party Debt Order: This enables you to freeze funds held by third parties for or on behalf of the debtor – such as bank accounts – until your debt is satisfied.

6. Information Order: An Information Order is a Court Order that requires the debtor to attend Court for questioning. It does not require the debtor to make payment, however it may be used to enable you to make a more informed decision on which enforcement method to use.If the debtor fails to attend, they can be held in contempt of Court and committed to prison for a short period. 

Every enforcement method has its pros and cons, depending on individual circumstances of your case. It’s worth seeking advice from a debt recovery solicitors who can guide you through these options and help choose which one suits your situation best.

Lovetts is a specialist UK & International debt recovery solicitors with more than 25 years of industry experience. If your business has overdue debts that’s it’s seeking to recover, contact us today.

7 November 2023