Step 4 Dealing with your non-priority debts

If you agree you owe the debt

 

There will be a reply form with the claim form for you to make your offer of repayment. This is called the ‘admission form’. There are instructions included on how to fill in the form. It looks quite like a household budget and asks for similar information on your income and essential outgoings. You should fill this in and send the court a copy of Your budget so it has a full picture of your circumstances. Contact us for advice.

Important:

do make an offer of payment

In the claim form, there is a section you can fill in to include your priority debt payments. You also have space to include any other court judgments you have, and to list all your non-priority debts. It is important to make an offer of payment in the ‘offer box’. If you leave it blank, the court will decide you have not made an offer and tell you to pay the whole debt at once, or order you to pay what the creditor asks for.

If my creditors take court action, what are the advantages?

  • The court will stop interest being charged on most ordinary credit agreements. This means that the amount you owe cannot increase. Some creditors may tell you they can charge interest on a debt before and after judgment. If this happens to you, contact us for advice.
  • In most cases, the court is likely to let you pay a monthly amount which you can afford. But it can only do this if you explain your income, outgoings and other debts on the reply form to the county court claim.
  • Usually, you won’t have to go to the court for a hearing. Most of the procedure is done through the post.
  • If my creditors take court action, what are the disadvantages?

    • Court costs are added on to your debt, although creditors cannot add on what they want. The amount of the court costs will depend on the amount of money you owe.
    • Details of judgments are recorded on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines and are available to credit reference agencies. This may make it difficult for you to get credit in the future. If you pay off your county court judgment within one month, you can ask to have the entry removed from the register.

    Can I get credit again?

    • If you do not pay the monthly amount which the court orders, or the court orders you to pay the whole amount straightaway, the creditor may take further action against you. So make sure you pay your monthly payments or apply for them to be reduced if you cannot afford the first amount that the court fixed. See the information below on how to reduce payments.

    How to get help with court fees

    If you need to apply to the court, there may be a fee to pay. You may not have to pay the fee, depending on your circumstances, for example, if you are on benefits or a low income. Contact us for advice.

    Reducing payments on court orders

    If you cannot afford what the court has decided you should pay, you can write to the court to ask it to look at your offer again. This is called a ‘redetermination’. There is no fee for doing this. You must do this within 14 days of getting the order. The District Judge can decide to have a hearing or make a decision by looking at the papers. You can ask for a hearing when you write to the court to ask it to look at your case again. The case should be transferred to your County Court hearing centre if there is a hearing. Contact us for advice.

    If more than 14 days have passed since you got the court order, you cannot apply for a redetermination. Instead, you must apply for the monthly payment to be reduced. Contact us for advice.