What directors need to know about county court judgements

You set the vision and the strategic direction of your business and have to successfully sell that to your customers and staff. If it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, the responsibility and cost will be all yours. 
You have access to intelligence and information that your staff/constituents don’t know about and might panic them if they did. 
Making decisions they might not understand or agree with based on these is another burden only the people at the very top of a business or a country understand. 
And while you both might have a “cabinet” of counsellors advising you, ultimately the final decision and responsibility is always yours.  
There also aren’t enough hours in the day for a prime minister or an owner to tackle everything they need to but there’s little you can do apart from maximise your time efficiently. 
So you can have some sympathy when some things slip or fall through the net, because they always do. 
It’s emerged that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has received a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against him for non-payment of a £535 debt. 
The court order was made on October 26th 2020 and so far there is no indication if the debt has been cleared. 
At the time the judgement was registered, certain creditor actions including using bailiffs to recover funds were suspended due to the pandemic. This limitation has now been lifted so theoretically at least we could see some court enforcement officers pulling up outside 10 Downing Street to recover items up to the owed amount.

How to stop bailiffs visiting your business

If your business receives a CCJ then it’s not a laughing matter. 
You will have a limited window of opportunity to respond in an effective way and prevent it being registered against you. 
A CCJ being granted just means that the court agrees with the petitioner that they are legally owed the amount stated and that it has to be repaid.  
Once this has happened, the CCJ is published in the London Gazette so it’s on the public register and the creditor has the option to apply for further enforcement action if the amount isn’t repaid in full or arrangement for repayment made. 
Any business receiving a CCJ will have it recorded on their credit file making borrowing more expensive and difficult as a result. If you’re a sole trader then the effects could be worse as it would be registered against your personal credit record. 
If a CCJ isn’t settled in full or arrangements for settlement made within 28 days of it being registered then the creditor has the option to use bailiffs to enforce the debt.  This would involve them visiting the premises to confiscate items up to the amount of the debt.  
After June 30th, they might instead choose to proceed with a winding-up petition against the business using the granted CCJ as proof of insolvency. Winding up petitions are currently suspended but this will be lifted on this date.

What can you do if you receive a county court judgement?

Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with BusinessRescueExpert, said: “While receiving a CCJ can be a shock, it shouldn’t really be a surprise.
“The creditor will have made several efforts to reach out and get payment before even going to court and once judgement is passed, it will be publicly advertised so even if you weren’t aware, your lenders and suppliers probably will be.
“There are some narrow points on which a CCJ can be challenged but these are mainly procedural, they don’t query the fact that you owe the money and you either need to pay it or consider another solution because a CCJ is usually a reliable indicator of financial difficulties.”
If your business is having trouble making ends meet then you should get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity. 
We offer a free initial consultation where we’ll discuss your situation in more detail and together can come up with some short and medium term actions you can begin to take.
We’ll also let you know what we think your longer term prospects look like and let you know what changes you can make to maximise your chances of being financially viable once again. 
Every business runs into difficulties at some point but it’s the ones who decide to get professional advice and act on it that get our vote.