4 I have received a County Court Claim form. What do I do now?
Receiving a County Court claim form can seem very worrying, but you can usually deal with the process through the post, without the need for a court hearing.
If the claim you receive is for money you owe, the forms you use to reply will normally be enclosed with the claim form. It is important to reply within 14 days of receiving the forms.
If you wish to seek further advice over a possible defence, you should complete the ‘acknowledgement’ form within 14 days, which will extend your time to send back a defence form to 28 days.
How to reply
You can reply to the claim in several ways:
- If you feel that the amount owed is correct but you cannot afford to repay the debt in full, you can use the ‘Admission’ form; complete this with your financial details and offer of payment and return it to the ‘claimant’ within 14 days. Don’t offer to pay more than you can really afford.
- If you feel you don’t owe the debt, you can use the ‘Defence and Counterclaim’ form. If you wish to defend the claim, you must send the defence form back to the court.
- If you feel that some of the debt owed is correct but that the rest is incorrect, then you can use both the forms.
Asking for a review
If you have made an offer to pay, but the court has ordered you to pay more than you have offered, you can ask the court to reconsider your offer at a hearing. Any hearing would be at your local county court.
If you don’t pay
If you fail to make payments as ordered by court, the claimant can apply for enforcement. This could be by, for example, asking the court bailiffs to visit you; applying for an attachment of earnings order; or asking the court to put a legal charge on any property you own (such as your home).
Court costs and fees will usually be added to your debt if a judgment is entered against you.
If a county court judgment is entered against you, this will be registered unless the debt is paid within 28 days of the judgment being made. It will remain on your credit record for six years after the judgment.
If you need help dealing with a County Court Claim form or you are concerned about any other aspect of debt, we recommend that you speak to one of our debt advisers on 0845 345 4 345 for specialist advice. Telephone specialist advice is only available if you qualify for legal aid.