Following lifting of government lockdowns during the pandemic, enforcement action including bailiffs attending properties can now resume. There may also be changes to debt recovery legislation which protective measures were brought in during the pandemic to prevent aggressive debt recovery action from debtors affected by coronavirus. If you have received a county court judgment against you or your company, get in touch with our litigation team as soon as possible.
Running a business is never easy, finding a direction and achieving success, as well as the pressure is on you as a director, if there is failure to do so for any reason. During the pandemic, there was a suspension of bailiffs attending properties during lockdown but now that lockdown is lifted this could result in seeing bailiffs back in action to enforce County Court Judgments.
If your company receives a CCJ there may be some cause for concern. to the extent where even the Prime Minister had been found to have received a CCJ against him for non-payment of a £535 debt. This could mean that bailiffs could potentially be in front of 10 Downing street to recover the debt.
How to prevent bailiffs from visiting your company
There is a limited period of time for you to respond to a CCJ and a limited time for you to effectively prevent it from being registered against you. This meaning that if a CCJ is granted the court will agree on a legally owed stated amount. Consequently, the CCJ is published in the London Gazette so it is in the public register. Following to which there is a chance of further enforcement action if the amount isn’t repaid in full.
The Effects of a CCJ
Any business receiving a CCJ will have it recorded on their credit file leading to difficulties in borrowing extensive amounts. this can be worsened if you are operating as a sole trader could have personal consequences to you, meaning it would affect your personal credit record.
How to challenge a CCJ
If the creditor will have made several efforts to reach out and get payment before even going to court and once judgment is passed, it will be publicly advertised so even if you weren’t aware, your lenders and suppliers (i.e. creditors) probably will be.
There are some indications on which a CCJ can be challenged but these are mainly procedural. In addition, would require a fair share of financial backing to have a defence for a CCJ .they don’t query the fact that you owe them money and you either need to pay it or consider another solution because a CCJ is usually a reliable indicator of financial difficulties.
Is the judgment debt enforceable?
The judgment debtor must have been provided the opportunity to pay the sum ordered by the Court and payment should be overdue before enforcement proceedings are commenced.
Therefore, it is important to calculate when the debt has become overdue. Guidance is found in CPR 40.11 which states that if the order does not specify a time to pay then the debtor has 14 days from the date of the judgment.
It is essential (pursuant to CPR 40.4) that a judgment creditor serves the debtor with the judgment (either themselves or via the Court).
Is the judgment debt too old to enforce?
Unlike with other court claims (see our article on limitation here), judgment debts are not subject to limitation issues. Although section 24(1) of the Limitation Act 1980 states that an action cannot be brought 6 years after a judgment has been handed down, the House of Lords in Lowsley v Forbes  3 WLR 501 held that an action is defined as a fresh action therefore enforcement proceedings are not time limited.
However, any delay is not advisable and provides the debtor with the opportunity to liquidate their assets without paying the debt that is due. If you are owed sums by a judgment debtor, you should seek advice from specialist debt recovery lawyers as soon as possible to maximise the chances of recovery.
How our CCJ litigation team can help you
We know that each client’s case and business are unique, therefore we adopt a specialist approach tailored to suit the client’s circumstances and needs. With advice being provided by the firm once we have been instructed to review your CCJ matter and other supporting documents.
If you have received a CCJ for a sum of over £10,000 and require legal advice and assistance in defending the same, get in touch with our litigation team.