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What if I don't repay a CCJ debt?

Posted 15 February 2013

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If you have a CCJ, you could end up having bailiffs sent to your home. You could have money taken out of your salary. You could be stopped from taking money out of your bank account. Find out how it works here.

If you don't stick to a repayment agreement, a lender can take you to court, where the judge may issue a CCJ (County Court Judgment) against you.

A CCJ tells you how you must repay the money. This could be in a lump sum or in instalments.

Sticking to the terms of the CCJ is very important: if you don't, the lender may try to get their money back in different ways, known as 'debt enforcement methods'. Note that a court won't 'enforce' an order unless a lender actually asks it to.

There are different kinds of debt enforcement methods, including:

·  a warrant of execution

·  an attachment of earnings order

·  a third party debt order

A warrant of execution

The lender can apply to the court for a warrant that lets a bailiff enter a borrower's property and seize goods. If this happens to you, you'd usually be able to get the goods back by paying the debt.

If you don't do that, the goods can be sold in a public auction so that the lender can get their money back. So bailiffs would only take goods which could actually be sold - but there are quite a few things they're not allowed to take, including:

·   Things you need to do your job (essential equipment, tools, books, etc.)

·   Items that your household can't do without (clothes, bedding, etc.)

·   Anything which is rented, leased or on a hire purchase agreement

·   Anything that belongs to someone else (including your partner).

If you simply don't own enough they can take, this method just won't work. The lender may decide to try a different debt enforcement method.




An attachment of earnings order

Some of your salary can actually be stopped before you get it - your employer would take it out of your wages and forward it to the court. This won't happen if your take-home pay is too low (if it's below what's known as the protected rate).

This can only happen if:

·   You're in arrears with one or more payments to your CCJ

·   You still owe at least £50. 

A third party debt order

This would stop you taking money out of your bank account, so it can be sent to your lender.

When the application is made for a third party debt order, the judge can make an 'interim order' that stops you taking money out of your account if that would leave less money than you owe the lender.

If you don't think the interim order is fair (if you can't afford your basic living costs, for example). Before the 'full hearing' takes place, you can apply to the court for an order that lets your bank make a payment from your account.

If you've had a CCJ issued against you - or you think it might happen - you should talk to an expert and find out what you should do. Just call one of the numbers at the top of this page, or fill in the 'Request a callback' form and we'll call you.

by Sarah Symons

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