Setting Aside A CCJ (Default Judgment)
The Difference Between Setting Aside A Default Judgment And Appealing A Decision Is Huge
The court rules allow a party to apply to court to try to set aside a CCJ which was obtained by Judgment in Default.
Default Judgment is where the CCJ is entered because a Defendant has not responded to a claim form. In short, a claim form was issued at court, no defence was filed and the Claimant obtained a Default Judgment. Sometimes this is happens because the Claimant has specified an address for the Defendant which is incorrect, so the Defendant knew nothing about it.
It is possible to set aside a Default Judgment CCJ by making an application to court, albeit it is likely to require a hearing before a judge.
Appeal / Relief From Sanctions
Sometimes a CCJ will be entered because the Judge makes an order at trial or because a Defence is struck out (usually because of non compliance with a court order or rule). An application to set aside a Default Judgment is not appropriate in such cases. In those cases, the likely step available will be to appeal the order of the Judge and / or to seek relief from sanctions. In those circumstances, you may wish to obtain independent legal advice. As with an application to set aside Default Judgment, there are short time frames available to challenge a decision of a Judge and there are risks of costs being ordered against you.
Why Try Setting Aside a CCJ?
A CCJ will damage your credit rating and there is the risk that whoever has it could try to enforce it against you to get paid. If you didn’t know anything about it and / or you have a reasonable defence to the claim, you might be justified in applying to set aside the CCJ. If issuing an application to set aside, it is important to ask the court to put enforcement of the CCJ on hold until the application to set aside has been dealt with. If you don’t ask the court for this, it is unlikely to order that enforcement cease in the meantime.
Issuing an application might also start negotiations over reaching a settlement figure with the Claimant, if you accept something is likely to be owed but not the amount being claimed.
An application to set aside is not without risk and it will be a time-consuming route to go down.
The court is only likely to entertain an application for a Default Judgment to be set aside if there are grounds to dispute the claim (a discretionary set aside) or there has been some procedural error in obtaining the judgement (a mandatory set aside).
Procedure And Costs
The application needs to be made on the correct form and with the necessary documentation in support. It needs to be sent to the correct court hearing centre. We will shortly be adding to the site, a downloadable guide to making the application for you to buy, to help you complete the forms and to understand the process better.
When compared to obtaining a certificate of satisfaction, the courts fees are greater. There is a standard court fee of £255 to issue an application to set aside Default Judgment. If you cannot afford the court fee, you might be allowed to issue the application without paying it. See here for more detail on fee remissions.
There is also a risk as to what the court will order about the costs the parties incur on an application like this as it can order one party to pay the other side’s reasonable legal costs.