You may get a county court judgment (CCJ) or high court judgment if someone takes court action against you (saying you owe them money) and you do not respond.

You must respond to the court claim by the date on the email or letter you receive.

If you get a judgment, this means that the court has formally decided that you owe the money.

The judgment will come in the post and will explain:

  • how much you owe
  • how to pay (in full or in instalments)
  • the deadline for paying
  • who to pay

Records of judgments are kept for 6 years unless you pay the full amount within a month - this can make it hard to get credit.

What you can do if you get a judgment

If you do owe the money, you’ll need to pay it back. If you cannot afford to, you can ask to:

  • change the terms of (‘vary’) the judgment
  • pay it back in instalments

Find out what options you have for paying the judgment.

You can apply for the judgment to be cancelled (or ‘set aside’) if:

  • you do not owe the money
  • you did not receive, or did not respond to, the original claim from the court saying you owed the money

Find out how to apply for the judgment to be cancelled.

If you get a judgment, do not ignore it - you could be taken back to court and forced to pay.

Court judgments for debt in Scotland

The law is different in Scotland - read guidance from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scotland’s insolvency service).