I’ve received a Court Summons for not paying a debt
If you have received a Summons, or a County Court Claim Form, it means that a creditor (referred to as the ‘claimant’) is intending to use the County Court system to get money that they are owed.
There is no minimum time requirement for a creditor to wait before they can file the papers with the court and some creditors use this form of payment demand more regularly than others. However, as the claimant will have to pay a fee to send you a claim through the courts, they will generally use the court system if they have been unsuccessful in getting their money through demand letters. A Court Summons is the first step in a County Court Judgement (CCJ) being made against you.
What action do I need to take?
It is important that you act straight away. If you have received a Summons, you have 14 days from the date on the Summons to reply. You will need to reply with either the Admittance Form, the Defence and Counterclaim Form, or the Acknowledgement of Service, all of which will be included with your Summons.
If you don’t respond at all to the Summons then the Court will rule in favour of the claimant and the full amount will become payable immediately, so it is very important to reply.
How can McAlister & Co help if I’ve received a Court Summons for non-payment of a debt?
Sometimes, even though you know the information, it’s helpful to speak to one-to-one with a debt professional to put your mind at ease. McAlister & Co offer free and practical debt advice and our team would be happy to speak with you if you want any advice about these procedures.
We will look at the bigger picture of your financial situation and will be able to explain the options that are open to you. In most cases, a Court Summons for non-payment of a debt is not an isolated incident, but rather a symptom of an unmanageable amount of debt. The situation isn’t always immediately obvious, especially if you’re scraping by making payments to some creditors some months, and paying other creditors the next month. McAlister and Co are able to arrange a professional debt solution which will put you back in control of your finances and put an end to demand letters and phone calls.
How can an IVA help if I’ve received a Court Summons for not paying a creditor?
An IVA won’t do anything to stop you getting a CCJ if you owe the debt. However, you can accept the debt by filling in the Acceptance Form included with the summons and agree a repayment plan with the creditor. You can then enter into an IVA arrangement and include this creditor in the IVA. Any remaining creditors to whom you owe money, but who have not started legal action would be very unlikely to do so when made aware that you were in the process of setting up an IVA.
How can a DMP help if I’ve received a Court Summons or a County Court Judgement (CCJ)?
As with an IVA, a DMP can’t be do anything to stop a CCJ ruling. You can accept the debt by filling in the Acceptance Form included with the summons and agree a repayment plan with the creditor. You can then enter into propose a Debt Management Plan to all of your creditors, including the creditor with whom you have a CCJ. Any remaining creditors to whom you owe money, but who have not started legal action would be very unlikely to do so once made aware that you were in the process of setting up a debt solution, such as a DMP.
How can Bankruptcy or a Debt Relief Order help if I’ve received a Court Summons or a CCJ?
Neither a bankruptcy nor a Debt Relief Order can stop the CCJ process if the creditor has a fair claim, but the judged debt can be included in Bankruptcy or a Debt Relief Order.
You will first need to accept the debt by returning the completed Acceptance Form included with the Court Summons and agree a repayment schedule with the creditor. If you then go on to file for bankruptcy or a DRO, the repayments to the creditor will cease and the debt be included in the bankruptcy or DRO.