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Glossary

Accountant in Bankruptcy: this is the trustee who is appointed if you apply for sequestration.

 

Acknowledgement of Service: if your lender is seeking a County Court Judgement, you will receive this document along with the claim form. It gives you an extra 14 days during which you can prepare your defence, if you are intending to defend (fight) the claim.

 

Admission Form: if you don't intend to defend a County Court claim, but are offering to repay by instalments, you need to complete the admission form and provide details of your income and outgoings.

 

Agreement Regulations: The Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations which set out what must be included within a regulated consumer credit agreement.

 

Bailiff: somebody who is legally authorised to collect debt on behalf of a creditor. There are different types of bailiffs.

 

Bankruptcy: this is a legal process where you are declared insolvent and your assets are transferred to a trustee.

 

Claim Form: a claim form is used to set out the details of the amounts owed by you if your creditor is applying for a County Court Judgement against you.

 

Consumer Credit Act: this is the Consumer Credit Act 1974 which was amended by the Consumer Credit Act 2006. It sets out what the legal requirements are for firms carrying out consumer credit activities such as lenders.

 

Credit Agreement: this is the document that sets out the terms under which you have been granted credit by lender. It will show the payments that you are required to make, when these are due, the interest payable under the agreement, charges that can be applied as well as other matters required to be included under the "agreement regulations."

 

Credit Record: Credit Reference Agencies may hold information about your credit history, including the number of credit accounts, details of whether you've missed payments, the amount of credit outstanding and other matters such as whether you have any defaults or County Court Judgements held against you.

 

Credit Reference Agencies: these are independent companies that provide lenders with details of how you have managed your credit accounts. Lenders use this information to help them to make decisions about whether they will lend money to a particular person. There are 3 main credit reference agencies in the UK, these are Equifax, Experian and Call Credit.

 

Charging Order: this is an order granted by the Court which means the debt owed by you becomes secured against your property. It does not mean that you have to sell your house but if and when you do sell your house part of the proceeds will be used to repay the debt before you receive any further equity. It can be applied for if a County Court Judgement has been granted and you have failed to make payments.

 

County Court Judgement: this is sometimes referred to as a CCJ. It is an order granted by the County Court to enforce the debt. A CCJ will stay on your credit record for 6 years. However, if you repay the debt in full within 1 month of the judgement, you can obtain a certificate of cancellation and the judgement can be removed from your credit record.

 

Creditor: this is a person that is owed money by you. This is usually referred to as a lender, although it could also be a debt collector if your debt has been sold.

 

Debt Administration Order: you can apply to the County Court for an Administration Order if you owe less than £5,000 to at least 2 creditors and one of these has registered a County Court Judgement against you which you can't pay in full. You will need to provide details of your income and outgoings and the Court will make an order for payment based on what you can afford. You make payments to the Court and the court distributes these to your creditors.

 

Debt Collection Agency: this will be a specialist firm appointed by your creditor to collect the money you owe.

 

Debt Management Plan: this is an agreement where you make one payment usually each month to a debt adviser who then distributes money to your creditors. The debt adviser will try to get your creditors to stop or reduce interest and other charges on your account.

 

Debt Relief Order: a new, simpler and cheaper form of bankruptcy. It usually lasts for 1 year but not all debts can be included. You have to meet certain standards to be able to apply for a Debt Relief Order, the mains ones being that your unsecured debts are less than £20,000, your assets must be less than £1000 (plus £1000 for a car) and your disposable income must be less than £50 pm.

 

Default Notice: under the Consumer Credit Act a lender has to issue a default notice before he can take certain action under a regulated consumer credit agreement. It is usually issued at the point where you have failed to make several payments because you are classed as having breached the agreement. It will give you a timescale during which you can take action to resolve the situation. The lender can't take further action against you until the timescale has ended. A default notice will stay on your credit record for 6 years, but if you take the action needed in the notice, within the timescale instructed by your lender, it is treated as never having happened.

 

Defence Form: if you wish to defend a claim for a County Court Judgement, you will need to complete the defence form.

 

Equity: this is usually the value in your house after taking account of the amounts of any debt that you have secured against it. For example, if your house is valued at £100,000 but you have debts of £80,000 secured against it, then your equity is £20,000.

 

Financial Conduct Authority: you will also see reference to the FCA for short. This is the government body that has responsibility for authorising and regulating firms to undertake consumer credit business.

 

Financial Ombudsman Service: or FOS as it is sometimes called. This is an independent body which was set up to deal with complaints about certain credit matters.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement: you may also have seen this called an IVA. It is a legally-binding agreement between you and your creditors. You usually make one payment each month which is then paid out to your creditors. It normally lasts for 5 years and at the end of this period your debts are written off.

 

Insolvency Practitioner: this is a licensed person who is authorised to conduct certain proceedings such as an IVA.

 

Insolvent: this is a term that is defined in The Insolvency Act 1986 as a situation where your debts exceed your assets and/or you are unable to meet the agreed payments as and when they are due.

 

Loan Sharks: these are illegal money lenders. They do not hold authorisation permitting them to lend money and so they are breaking the law. Usually, loan sharks charge massive amounts of interest and they may also threaten or hurt you if you don't make your payments.

 

Legal Action: if your creditor applies to the Court to recovery money due under a credit agreement this is known as legal action.

 

Official Receiver: an officer of the Court who is appointed to investigate and manage the estate of a person in bankruptcy.

 

Priority Debts: these are debts that can have serious consequences if you don't pay them when they are due and include rent, mortgages and other debts that are secured against your home, court fines, council tax, gas and electricity, maintenance, TV licence, income tax, national insurance and VAT.

 

Repossession: the taking of property against which a debt is secured. For example, when you take out a mortgage it is secured against your home. If you fail to keep up repayments the lender can take steps to remove you from the property and force a sale.

 

Secured: a secured debt is one where the lender has a legal charge over your property so that if you don't repay what is due he has a claim on the proceeds if it is sold. The lender can also apply for your property to be repossessed.

 

Sequestration: in very simple terms, this is the Scottish version of bankruptcy.

 

Statute Barred Debt: if a creditor allows time to pass without receiving or requesting payment it could mean that the debt becomes statue barred which means the lender cannot take action to enforce the debt. Under the Limitations Act 1980 the time limit is 6 years. However, if you acknowledge the debt or make payment within the original 6 years, the time limit starts to run again from that date.  In Scotland, the period is usually 5 years.

 

Statutory Demands: this may be issued by a lender and it gives you 21 days warning to pay the debt. After that timescale, the lender can apply to make you bankrupt.

 

Time Order: this is an order granted by the Court to set out the action that should be taken on a regulated consumer credit agreement. You can apply to the Court for a time order and if granted the order could allow you to pay the amount outstanding in instalments that are set by the Court.

 

Undischarged Bankrupt: this is an individual who has been made bankrupt who has not yet been discharged.

 

Unsecured: these are debts that are not secured against property, such as personal loans, overdrafts, credit and store cards. If you don't repay the lender does not have an automatic right to repossess your assets. However, under certain circumstances, the lender may be able to apply to the Court firstly for a County Court Judgement and then a charging order.

 

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