County Court judgments are made by County Courts in England and Wales. The judgments are entered on the Register of County Court Judgments, which can be checked by anyone to assess the creditworthiness of individuals and companies. Unpaid County Court judgments can be enforced in a number of ways, such as placing a lien on the judgment debtor's property, attaching earnings, or having the court appoint a County Court Bailiff to collect the debt.
Download Claim Form N1 (the mandatory form) by going to Her Majesty's Courts Service web site, typing "N1" in the "Form Number/Leaflet Number" box, and clicking on "Find form."
To help you complete the claim form, review the practice directions under "How to Start Proceedings" published by the Ministry of Justice and available on its web site.
Take the completed claim form to the county court and request that it be issued, which will initiate the proceedings.
Serve the claim form on the defendant within four months of the date it was issued if he or she resides within the jurisdiction of the county court, or within six months if he or she lives outside the jurisdiction. Service outside the jurisdiction must be effected by personal service, while service within the jurisdiction can be accomplished by the alternative methods listed in Rule 7.5(1) of the Civil Procedure Rules, which you can find on the web site of the Ministry of Justice.
Apply to the court for a default judgment if the defendant has not filed an acknowledgement of service or a defence to the claim within 14 days of service. This must be done on Form N227 - Request for Judgment by Default - which is also available on Her Majesty's Courts Service web site. Include with the form any documentation that is needed to support your claim.
If the defendant responds to your claim, file Form N258 - Request for detailed assessment hearing - which is also available on Her Majesty's Courts Service web site. After processing the request, the court will set your case for trial.
Appear at trial with your evidence and witnesses to prove your claim. Obtain a trial judgment form to be completed with the results of the trial in your favour.
- The court rules state that you should make a reasonable effort to resolve your claim without litigation. County courts take the view that filing a claim should be used as a last resort, and that you should try mediation or conciliation to resolve your claim. Be prepared to answer inquiries by the court about your efforts in this regard before it allows your claim to go to trial.