- Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:55 am
No it is not too late!
Are you sure they have a CCJ against you already or are they threatening? You can do something either way.
If the company really has a CCJ against you they must have sent you a county court claims summons which you should have filled in and returned to the creditor acknowledging the debt and offering a payment. If you were not sent one of these the judgment can be set aside as they have not followed due process. However, if as is likely, it arrived and was just put to the back of the pile - and you would be surprised how often this happens - the creditor will have received a forthwith judgment in default. This basically means they have proved their claim and now the money is due to be paid.
The CCJ is there and cannot be removed unless the debt is paid in 28 days. However unless your employer makes regular credit checks on their employees as some do (banks for example) they are very unlikely to find out that you have one. Generally employers do not have a problem with debt - the problem is when someone does nothing to resolve the situation. There is nothing in law that says you must tell an employer you have a judgment against you. It is not a criminal offence. Also having a CCJ doesn't stop the debt having to be paid!
If it is not paid they can go for enforcement proceedings - generally this is where the bailiffs come into play.
open the door willingly to a bailiff - think of the vampire scenario, once you have let them in they can force their way in subsequently. This does not mean they can never come in but it does mean they need a court order to do so and this gives you time to organise something. The other enforcement actions are charging orders if you own a property and this effectively turns an unsecured into a secured debt or an attachment of earnings order. You can fight the latter on the grounds that you would be dismissed and then the creditor would get nothing.
However there is something you can do and
should do as soon as possible and that is get a variation order on the judgment. You will need to get an N245 - this will cost you £30. This should be sent to the court to offer the instalments you can pay.
If they threaten an attachment of earnings you will be sent an N56 which you would need to fill in (you would be sent this with the notice of application) and you should ask the court on the form to make a suspended AEO on the grounds that you would be dismissed if an AEO is made. It would not then be served on the employer unless you default on the voluntary payments. The Courts Service guidance advises that an application to suspend an AEO should normally be granted unless others are already in force when there is either no point or would show that you had failed to comply with a previously suspended AEO.
I hope this helps and wish you luck with the process.