Court action

If you receive a court claim, don’t ignore it. You’ve got 14 days to reply. If you do nothing, or are late replying, you could get a County Court Judgment (CCJ). You may be ordered to pay the money (or an amount decided by the court) and costs.

Find out what you can do if someone takes legal action against you. If you live in Scotland you should look at action the creditor can take on the Citizens Advice website

County court and credit debts

If you fall behind on payments to a creditor and cannot reach an agreement to pay the debt back, they may make a claim through the county court to get a county-court judgment (CCJ) against you.

Non-priority creditors use the county court. The following are some of the most common non-priority debts.


If you need help contact one of the many free debt advice organisations in Where to get help if you're in debt.

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Unsecured loans
  • Charge cards
  • Catalogues
  • Payday loans
  • Doorstep-collected loans

When county-court action is taken against you, you will get court forms which you should reply to and say what you can afford to pay. The county court should consider your circumstances and your income and outgoings before making a decision about how the debt should be paid back.

Further action creditors can take

If your creditor applied for a CCJ against you on or after 1 October 2012, they can apply to secure the debt against any property you own, even if you have not missed payments on the CCJ.

If you miss payments on a CCJ, the creditor can take other types of action against you through the county court, which could include:

County-court action and housing debt

Sometimes, county-court procedures can be used by priority creditors.

  • If you own your own home, your mortgage or secured loan lender could make a claim in the county court to repossess your property if you fall behind with payments on your mortgage or secured loan.
  • If you rent your home, your landlord could make a county-court claim to end your tenancy if you fall behind with rent payments. 

County-court action and hire-purchase or conditional-sale debt

If you fall behind with payments on a hire-purchase or conditional-sale agreement, the lender could make a county-court claim to repossess the goods. See the National Debtline factsheet.

County court action and your credit reference file

A county-court judgment will be recorded on your credit reference file for six years. This will make it more difficult and expensive for you to get further credit.

Last reviewed: 18/06/2018