What Is A County Court Judgement?
A County Court Judgement is an order of the court, compelling someone or something, to take a particular action. Usually, a County Court Judgement is for a specific sum of money, so the court has ordered someone to pay the other party.
For example, the Claimant issues a claim against the Defendant, seeking to recover the sum of 1,000 pounds. If the Defendant fails to respond to the claim (and Judgement in Default is obtained) or the claim is successful at trial, the court ought to make a County Court Judgement ordering the Defendant to pay the Claimant the 1,000 pounds and confirm the amount of costs to be paid.
Usually, in small claims, the costs that are ordered by the court are limited to the issue fee if Judgement in Default is obtained. If a matter proceeds to trial, costs are usually limited to the issue fee, trial fee, capped expert report fees and limited witness expenses.
If the terms of the order are not complied with, so the sum ordered to be paid is not paid, the Claimant can then seek to enforce it in a number of ways, including:
- County Court Bailiff or High Court Sheriff
- Attachment of Earnings (if the Defendant is an individual rather than a company)
- Third Party Debt Order
- Charging Order
- Insolvency Action
Registration of the County Court Judgement with the Registry Trust
Once a County Court Judgement has been made by the court, the existence and terms of it should be notified by the court staff to the Registry of Judgments, Orders and Fines, which is maintained by the Registry Trust. The Registry Trust is publicly accessible, although it does impose a fee for making a search against an individual, whether it be a search against yourself or someone you are interested in searching against.
A record remains on the Register for 6 years from the date of the order unless removed.
Credit reference agencies check the Registry records and use that information when creating credit reports. A County Court Judgement being recorded against someone, is a bad sign and will adversely affect their ability to obtain credit or credit might be offered on less favourable terms.
If a County Court Judgement if paid within a month of the order, it is possible to apply to the Registry Trust for a certificate of cancellation. A certificate of cancellation results in the record of the County Court Judgement being removed entirely. That should improve the Defendant’s credit. Removal is not instant but it should be fairly quick.
If a County Court Judgement is paid in full after a month has passed, it is possible to apply to the Registry Trust for a certificate of satisfaction. This will get the Registry Trust to update its records so that it shows the County Court Judgement has been paid. It is not therefore removed but lets anyone searching, including credit reference agencies, that it has been paid.
Ideally, a Defendant will avoid a County Court Judgement being entered at all but if one is, it is better for the Defendant’s credit that it is paid in full within a month so as to be able to apply for a certificate of cancellation, so that it is removed entirely from the Register.
You can visit the Registry Trust website here.