Set Aside a CCJ – Simple guide

Setting Aside a CCJSetting aside a County Court Judgment (CCJ) becomes a pressing concern for individuals and businesses alike when the weight of its implications looms large.

Whether due to errors in judgment, lack of awareness, or the profound financial consequences at stake, the decision to set aside a CCJ represents a crucial step towards safeguarding one’s reputation, financial standing, and the potential for negotiated resolutions.

By seeking to challenge and invalidate the judgment, individuals and businesses embark on a path towards rectifying injustices, exploring alternative arrangements, and reclaiming control over their financial future.

How to set aside a CCJ?

To set aside a County Court Judgment (CCJ), individuals or businesses must follow a specific legal process. Firstly, they need to complete and submit a N244 application form to the court that issued the judgment. This form should clearly outline the reasons for setting aside the CCJ and provide any supporting evidence.

It’s crucial to act promptly, as there is generally a limited time frame (usually within 14 days) from the date of judgment to file the application. Upon receipt of the application, the court will review the case and may schedule a hearing to consider the request.

It’s essential to prepare a strong case by gathering relevant documents, such as proof of errors, lack of notice, or any other compelling arguments. During the hearing, it is advisable to present a clear and concise argument, supported by evidence, to convince the court that the CCJ should be set aside.

If successful, the CCJ will be removed, and the case may proceed further or be resolved through negotiation or settlement discussions

What reasons can you give to get a CCJ set aside?

There are several valid reasons one can provide to request the setting aside of a County Court Judgment (CCJ). These reasons include:

  1. Procedural errors or irregularities: If there were mistakes or procedural irregularities during the CCJ proceedings, such as improper service of the claim or failure to follow legal requirements, it can be a strong ground for setting aside the judgment.
  2. Lack of proper notice: If the individual or business was not aware of the CCJ due to not receiving the court documents or not being properly served with the claim, they can argue that they were denied the opportunity to defend themselves.
  3. Mistaken identity: If the CCJ was issued against the wrong person or business, and there is clear evidence to support this claim, it can be a valid reason for setting aside the judgment.
  4. Lack of evidence: If the claimant failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their case, or if the evidence provided was incorrect or misleading, it can be grounds for setting aside the CCJ.
  5. Payment or settlement: If the debt in question has been paid in full or settled between the parties involved before the CCJ was issued, it can be a strong argument for setting aside the judgment.

Examples of reasons to get a CCJ set aside:

  • Procedural errors, such as failure to follow proper court procedures or timelines.
  • Lack of proper notice or failure to receive court documents.
  • Mistaken identity, where the CCJ was issued against the wrong individual or business.
  • The claim form was sent to an old address.
  • Insufficient or incorrect evidence presented by the claimant.
  • Full payment or settlement of the debt before the CCJ was issued.

It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the specific circumstances will determine the strength of the argument to set aside a CCJ.

Examples of defences include:

  • You don’t owe the money: You firmly believe that the debt had already been paid in full before the judgment was raised, and you have evidence to support this claim.
  • Wrong information on the CCJ: You have identified incorrect information on the CCJ, such as the creditor having inaccurate details about you or the debt. Additionally, you suspect that the amount they are asking you to pay has been calculated incorrectly.
  • The debt is statute barred: You are confident that the debt in question was taken out more than six years ago, exceeding the statute of limitations, and therefore, you should no longer be held liable for it.
  • Non-compliance with the Consumer Credit Act: You have requested your creditor to provide you with a copy of the credit agreement and a statement of your account, as mandated by the Consumer Credit Act. However, they have been either unwilling or unable to fulfill this request, raising concerns about the validity of the CCJ.

Can I dispute or set aside a CCJ I didn’t know about?

Yes, you can dispute or set aside a CCJ if you didn’t know about it. If you did not receive proper notice of the CCJ proceedings, such as not receiving the claim form or being unaware of the court hearing, you may have grounds to challenge the judgment.

To dispute or set aside a CCJ you didn’t know about, you can file an application with the court to request its removal. It is important to act promptly as there are time limits involved.

Providing evidence to support your claim of lack of awareness and demonstrating that you have a legitimate defense can increase the chances of the court considering your application.

In the event of uncovering a CCJ that was previously unknown to you, it becomes essential to ascertain the identity of the creditor responsible and determine the precise amount stated in the claim

You can find out by:

  • Looking at any court forms you receive
  • Calling the court, if you don’t have the court forms
  • Checking your credit file

Do I have to attend court?

Yes, you have to attend court if you wish to set aside a judgment to address the situation, it is crucial to visit your local hearing centre, where the court will provide you with information regarding the specific location and date of the hearing. Although it may initially seem worrisome, it’s important to note that the hearing typically takes place in a private room with the presence of a judge and possibly a representative from the creditor.

Rest assured that the judge maintains impartiality and aims to reach a fair outcome. During a hearing to set aside a CCJ, the judge’s main focus is to determine whether you possess an “arguable” defense, without making a final decision on the accuracy of the defense at this stage.

Following the setting aside of the CCJ, the case will proceed through the regular CCJ process for a defended claim. It is crucial to utilise the N9a Claims pack for this purpose.

It’s worth noting that HM Courts and Tribunal Services have confirmed that face-to-face hearings are still being conducted, albeit with appropriate social distancing measures in place. For further guidance and assistance, you can find additional advice and information from HM Courts and Tribunal Services.

What happens if my application is rejected?

In the event that the court determines that your defense is insufficient or identifies another reason why the judgment should not be set aside, your application may be denied, resulting in the judgment remaining in effect. In such cases, the court would typically maintain the original judgment amount without making any amendments. This essentially leaves you in the same position as before, with the judgment still standing.

During this stage, the court generally focuses on either setting aside the judgment or maintaining its validity, without making any modifications. In certain instances where complex issues require further consideration, an additional hearing may be scheduled to reach a final decision.

It’s important to note that if the court does not find merit in your defense against the claim, the judgment will indeed stand, and you would need to explore alternative options for resolution. Seeking legal advice and guidance can be beneficial in navigating the process and understanding the available recourse in such circumstances

Can I remove a CCJ from my credit file?

If you are able to pay your CCJ in full within one month of the judgment, you have the option to apply for a ‘certificate of cancellation’ from the County Court hearing centre that issued the judgment. This involves submitting court form N443 Application (PDF) for a certificate of satisfaction/cancellation, along with proof of payment, to the court.

There is a £14 court fee associated with this application, but individuals with low income may qualify for fee exemption. Eligibility for fee assistance can be checked and applied for online.

Once the court receives evidence of your payment within the one-month timeframe, they will notify the Registry Trust to remove the judgment from the public register.

This means that the CCJ will no longer be publicly accessible, providing a positive outcome in terms of your credit history and reputation. It is important to follow the necessary procedures and provide the required documentation promptly to ensure the successful cancellation of the judgment

If you pay off the CCJ more than a month after the judgment

The CCJ cannot be removed from the public register until the expiration of the six-year period. However, if you pay off the CCJ during this time, you have the option to apply to the court for a ‘certificate of satisfaction’ using the same process mentioned earlier.

While obtaining a ‘certificate of satisfaction’ does not remove the CCJ from the public register, it serves as proof that the judgment has been paid off or “satisfied.” This information will be visible to anyone who checks the register, making it evident that the debt has been settled.

Having a ‘certificate of satisfaction’ can potentially make it easier for you to apply for credit before the CCJ drops off your credit file, which occurs six years from the date of the original court judgment.

It’s important to keep this timeframe in mind when considering the impact of the CCJ on your credit history

When does a County Court judgment become statute barred?

The term “statute barred” refers to a situation where a debt was incurred a significant period ago, and as a result, the debtor may no longer be legally obligated to repay it.

It is important to note that a CCJ itself does not become fully statute barred. However, if your creditor has not taken any enforcement action against you for a period of six years, they would need to seek court permission if they intend to use bailiffs to enforce the debt.

If you believe that the CCJ was issued after the expiration of the six-year limitation period, you have the option to request the court to set aside the CCJ by submitting a defense under the Limitation Act. This defense asserts that the debt is time-barred and should not be enforceable due to the passage of time.

It is recommended to seek legal advice to ensure you properly navigate the process and present your Limitation Act defence effectively.

Frequently asked questions

What is a good reason to set aside a CCJ?

A good reason to set aside a CCJ is when there are procedural errors or irregularities in the judgment process. This can include improper service of the claim, failure to follow legal requirements, or lack of proper notice. Other valid reasons may include mistaken identity, lack of evidence, payment or settlement of the debt, or non-compliance with the Consumer Credit Act. It is important to consult with legal professionals or seek advice to determine the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.

How do you get a CCJ set aside?

To get a CCJ set aside, you need to follow a specific process. First, you must complete an application to the court, known as Form N244, explaining why you believe the CCJ should be set aside. You'll need to provide valid reasons, such as procedural errors, lack of proper notice, mistaken identity, or evidence of payment or settlement. It's important to act promptly and submit the application to the court as soon as possible. Seeking legal advice can be beneficial in preparing a strong case. The court will review your application and decide whether to set aside the CCJ based on the merits of your reasons. It's crucial to provide all necessary supporting documentation and attend any hearings if required.

Get help with County Court judgments and other debt

If you need assistance with County Court judgments (CCJs) or other debt-related matters, our team is here to help. Simply reach out to us by using the online enquiry form, and one of our experienced professionals will be in touch with you promptly. Whether you have questions about setting aside a CCJ, disputing a debt, understanding your rights, or seeking guidance on debt management and resolution, our team is dedicated to providing the support and advice you need. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your situation and find the best way forward.

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.