1) Pay off the amount you owe in full, right away; or
2) Make monthly repayments to repay your debt over time.
The worst thing you could do is bury your head in the sand – that’ll only make matters worse. But there really isn’t any need to do so either, because there are options available to you, and that’s what we’ll explain in this article.
Option 1: Redetermination
If it’s been 16 days or less since you received your CCJ payment plan (this goes off the date on the postmark of your letter) and:
You’re not happy with the payments you’ve been given; or
Your financial circumstances have changed and you’re no longer able to afford the payment set out
Then you can apply for what’s known as a redetermination.
How to apply for a redetermination
Applying for a redetermination is fairly simple, just follow these steps:
Write a letter to the court explaining why you disagree with their order. If you’re stuck with where to start, use this template to get you off the ground.
Include your income and personal budget within the letter, so that you can evidence your financial situation and why the payments aren’t feasible for you.
Send the letter to the court – it’s as easy as that!
What happens next?
Redeterminations are handled by District Judges. So if a District Judge made your original CCJ, then applying for a redetermination won’t be an option for you. But don’t worry, you will still be able to apply for a reduction in payments – which we explain in more detail in the next section.
Now, if your CCJ was made by the court staff, then the District Judge can decide to either hold a hearing or overturn their decision based on the information you’ve sent in. If you get a hearing, this’ll be held at your local county court. You must attend it and you’ll need to bring a copy of your budget with you.
Hearing or no hearing, if your redetermination is accepted, you’ll be sent a form called ‘Judgement for Claimant’ (by redetermination).
Option 2: Ask for a variation
If you’re no longer able to stick to the instalments that were set out in your CCJ repayment plan, then you can apply to reduce the amount you pay each week or month.
To do this, you’ll need to fill in an N245 form giving a clear and accurate breakdown of your income and spending, along with how much you think you can afford to repay – and stick to. It’s worth noting that you might be charged a £50 court fee to submit this form.
Within the N245 form, you’ll be required to complete 12 sections, and these are:
If your offer of payment is accepted, then you’ll receive a form titled ‘Judgement for Claimant’ (by variation).
The court’s under no obligation to accept the offer you put on the table. They may disagree with your spending habits and think you can afford to pay more towards your CCJ, for example. So if your offer gets rejected, they will decide the amount you must continue paying each week or month.
Option 3: Set your CCJ aside
If your CCJ should never have come about in the first place, then you can apply to have it set aside. However, this is only likely to work if:
You weren’t aware of the CCJ – because the claim form was sent to an old address, for example.
You have a plausible reason for not paying the CCJ – because you’ve already paid it, for example.
You act as soon as you find out about the CCJ.
Applying to set a CCJ aside isn’t cheap (it costs £225). As such, this option should only be explored if you have a really strong argument upholding why the CCJ shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
If you are confident in your argument but have a low income that makes the fee unaffordable, you may be able to get it for free by filling in an EX160A form.
What happens when a CCJ is set aside?
If you manage to successfully have your CCJ set aside, you’ll find yourself in the same position you were immediately before the judgement happened. If you missed it the first time around, this’ll give you the opportunity to argue your case against the CCJ.
All out of options?
If you’re all out of options and are still struggling to repay your CCJ, there are debt charities, like the Citizens Advice Bureau and StepChange, available to talk you through what happens next. You can find a list of charities who can help you here.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.