InsightsInsight - Commercial Dispute Resolution - POSTED: November 1 2022
What is a CCJ and what should you do if one is registered against your business?
Find out more about CCJs and what to do should one be registered against your business. Whether you agree with it or not you need to act now.
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CCJ (County Court Judgment) may just be one of the most dreaded acronyms to hear in business, and understandably so. With 30,468 businesses issued one in Q2 of 2022 alone, creditors are becoming more litigious and so it is important to understand the implications of a CCJ.
What is a CCJ?
If someone thinks that your business owes them or their organisation money they may take this case to court. If this happens you may receive a CCJ for debt if action isn’t taken to resolve the debt earlier in proceedings, or if that is the decision of the court.
CCJs are entered onto the statutory Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines which is used by credit reference agencies to gauge the credit-worthiness of individuals and business. Consequently, having a CCJ registered against you or your business is a serious black mark and can affect your ability to conduct business. This is not only in respect of raising finance but also in how your business is perceived by customers and suppliers, which may affect their decision on whether to do business with you.
Why have I received a CCJ?
If you have been involved in legal proceedings about debt that you or your company owes, a CCJ may be issued by the court that enshrines the judgment of the court against you. In this case, a CCJ should not come as a surprise and you should be prepared to pay the sum ordered by the court.
You may have received previous correspondence from the court regarding a case that you have ignored or missed via letter or email. If this is the case, you have failed to respond within a specified time period and therefore a CCJ may have been issued to you. You may only realise that you have a CCJ when credit ratings are declined and the negative effects of having a CCJ are being felt by your business.
Sometimes, CCJs are issued to businesses where the claimant has sued the wrong entity. If you feel that this is the case, you will need to reply to any legal proceedings and say ‘not us’. If the claimant does not agree and continues with proceedings with no further opposition from you, you may have received a CCJ even though you thought the issue had gone away.
What do I do if I have received a CCJ?
You have three options if your business has a CCJ against it.
Pay the CCJ
This is the simplest response. If the CCJ is correct (i.e. the correct business and amount) and you do owe the claimant money, then paying it swiftly is your best option. If a CCJ is paid within a month of it being handed down, it will be removed from the register. The key benefit of this is it will no longer affect your credit rating.
If you pay the CCJ after the first month, then it will remain on the register for six years but will be marked as satisfied. The result is it will still come up on credit searches and may impact your credit rating, but companies tend to consider the fact that it has been paid. The black mark is still there but will likely fade with time.
Leave the CCJ
The second option is to simply leave it on the register and not do anything. This will result in the CCJ remaining on the register for six years. However, it will be listed as unsatisfied which will have a more serious effect on your business and credit rating than a satisfied CCJ – a true black mark for the full six years.
In addition, CCJ enforcement proceedings may be taken against you to secure payment. These can take the form of bailiffs coming to take goods of equivalent value, a charge being placed against your property or if you are personally liable and employed, money can be deducted directly from your wages.
Challenge the CCJ
If you do not believe you owe the money or believe that the CCJ is incorrect, then you can challenge it. To do this you must make an application to the court to set aside the judgment and attend a hearing to explain why you don’t owe the money. It’s then a decision for the court whether the judgment is set aside.
If a judgement is set aside, then it’s removed from the register and you don’t have to pay. However, that’s unfortunately not an end to the matter. The original proceedings will be reinstated, and you will have to actively defend the claim. An order to set aside the CCJ does not necessarily mean you will win the claim at a full trial, only that there’s enough grounds to warrant a full trial going ahead.
It’s worth noting that once a CCJ has been paid, setting it aside becomes significantly more difficult and your prospects of successfully doing so are minimal. If you’re in any doubt as to whether you owe the money, remember you have a month from the date of judgment to investigate and decide before any long-term repercussions are incurred.
Legal advice for CCJs against businesses
If you receive notification of a CCJ against you or your business and wish to challenge it, it can be an involved process and may cost you more in the long run in both time and money. It’s important to know your rights and seek advice from a solicitor.
Our Commercial Dispute solicitors are based in Maidstone and Canterbury and are on hand to advise you on your next steps. To get in touch please fill out our online enquiry form or call 01622 690 691.
Other frequently asked questions about CCJs
For more information on CCJs take a look at some frequently asked questions below.
I have a CCJ but don’t know who from?
How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file?
Can the claimant remove a CCJ?
How do I pay a CCJ?
Is a CCJ a criminal conviction?
This content is correct at time of publication
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