“How do I deal with County Court?”
County Court Debt Collection Process Explained
The County Court process is intended to crystallise a claim to establish whether money is owed. Only after judgement has been entered can the County Court Judgement (CCJ) debt be collected. Accordingly anyone who thinks that you owe them money can pursue their claim using the County Court. Your options for dealing with a judgement debt are outlined on the CCJ options page.
If the debt is disputed then a defence should be filed and if necessary be argued in Court until the claim is thrown out or judgement entered.
If a County Court judgement is entered against your business there are various collection methods that can be pursued by the claimant to enforce the judgement if immediate payment is not made. These include agreeing payment terms or enforcement action through either County Court Bailiffs or a writ to escalate the claim to the High Court for enforced by High Court Sheriffs.
If the debt is for more than £750 the claimant as a judgement creditor can apply for a Winding up Petition in the High Court.
As part of the County Court process, prior to judgement, you can ask for payment terms to be included in the judgement. This prevents the claimant from taking enforcement action if you need time to pay a judgement debt.
A judgement debt is normally unsecured so if you are unable to pay it immediately you need to be aware that the claimant can seek to have goods seized so as to secure their claim. Early action may be necessary to avoid losing control of key assets.
Bailiffs & sheriffs
County Court Bailiffs and High Court Sheriffs have considerable power to enforce judgement debt through seizure of assets. Assets that can be seized should only be those owned by the company but can be cars parked outside a company’s premises as well anything inside and dealing with them requires considerable knowledge of the legislation that governs their actions. Such legislation includes Pound-breach where unauthorised seizure can result in double damages, while unauthorised removal of seized assets can result in treble damages.
If you are unable to pay a County Court debt CALL K2 if you want help dealing with the claimant
“I am unable to pay a CCJ”
Options for Dealing with a County Court Judgement Debt
If you are unable to pay the judgement debt immediately due to lack of funds, your business is insolvent as the inability to pay a judgement debt is one of the tests of insolvency.
Your options are:
- to ask the Court to include time to pay as part of the judgement;
- to reach agreement with the claimant or their enforcement officers for a payment plan;
- to save the business via a Company Voluntary Arrangement or a Phoenix.