25/04/2018

Trying to claw back money that you are owed by a person or business isn’t always easy.

Some people choose to pursue their claim themselves through the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC).

These claims can be made online or via a paper form and if the person your claim relates to denies owing you money, you might have to go to a court hearing.

Over the last 12 months there has been tens of thousands of charging order applications issued, so if you are thinking of going down this route, here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. Don’t forget whose application you are completing
When completing section 1 of form N379, which asks “What is your full name?”, remember that this question is directed at the judgment creditor. Sometimes, practitioners or applicants’ employees mistakenly enter their own name and, where this happens, the CCMCC has to return the application.

2. Use section 8 in form N379 to explain any discrepancies in your application
For example, sometimes the judgment debtor’s name is slightly different on the Land Registry documents submitted with the application (they may have a middle name that was unknown to the judgment creditor when the claim was issued, or some documents may be in their married name). It is best to address this type of discrepancy in section 8 of form N379. If you don’t give an explanation, you risk the application being returned.

3. If you are a bulk customer, don’t forget to enclose a schedule identifying each of the cases included in a single batch of applications
This helps the CCMCC to track charging order work processed for bulk users. The CCMCC will keep a copy of the schedule in a central reference point and use it to assist with any queries on the location of a particular case or file.

4. Avoid the temptation to file duplicate applications and correspondenceSubmitting a charging order application to the CCMCC by multiple methods can lead to work being duplicated and also increases turnaround times. The CCMCC asks users to adopt just one method of transmission (for instance, email or post – not both). The benefits of filing by email include speed, reduced cost and the fact that you will receive an automated response, confirming receipt.

5. If you wish to file an individual charging order application or related items by email, stick to the dedicated email addressEmailing individual applications, related correspondence and documents directly to CCMCC-chargingorders@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk helps the CCMCC to process them more efficiently. Remember to comply with Practice Direction 5B and avoid copying your email to other CCMCC email addresses (such as those for general e-filing or customer enquiries), as this will generate multiple replies for you and slow down response times. (Note that bulk batches of charging order applications must be filed by post.)

6. When filing by email, use the correct subject heading, so that your email is efficiently filtered
When you use the dedicated email address to file a charging order application or related items, make sure that you complete the subject field with the case number, plus one of the eight headings set out below. This will assist the CCMCC to allocate your email to the appropriate inbox without delay. The headings to be used in the subject field are:
• New issue
• General query
• Administrative error
• Complaint
• Objection to Order
• Certificate of Service
• Applications
• Schedules of Costs

7. Remember that applications will only be issued once the fee is received
I understand from the CCMCC that, in some cases, users submit a charging order application by email, and then file a further hard copy by post, enclosing a cheque for the fee. The CCMCC will only issue an application on receipt of the fee, so there is no point chasing for news of your application based on the date of the email.

8. When filing schedules of costs or statements of the amount due for final charging orders, use the CCMCC’s pro forma schedules
Practitioners’ own schedules sometimes omit relevant information, which can either delay approval of the final charging order, or result in the applicant not receiving the expected amount of costs and disbursements. The CCMCC has therefore produced two pro forma schedules, one for individual charging order applicants, and one for bulk users. These contain all the information required by the court when considering whether to grant a final charging order.

9. Be aware that interim charging orders are only referred for final order approval after the 49-day timeframe has expired
The 49-day timeframe (comprising a 21-day period for service of the interim order and a 28-day period for objections/responses) must have elapsed before interim charging orders are referred for final order.

10. Don’t chase too early for news on a final charging order
If you do need to chase, the CCMCC suggests that you check first that you have taken into account the CCMCC’s current targets for issuing final charging orders. This can be done by visiting https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmcts-civil-business-centres-performance-information   The CCMCC receives a high volume of chasing enquiries, many of which are premature and generate unnecessary additional work or cause confusion.

I hope this has given a useful insight into the CCMCC procedure and system. If you do need help with any debt recovery matter, do get in touch on 01782 205000 or email richard.anderson@beswicks.com
Our debt recovery specialists can support you at every stage of the debt collection process (and can take some of the frustration out of recovering the money that you are owed!).