If you are in debt are being threatened with a County Court Judgment, or you already have a CCJ taken out against you, it’s understandable if you’re wondering how you can have your CCJ removed and move on with your life.
In this guide we’ll explore CCJ removal more closely, including what a CCJ is, how it impacts your credit rating, and how long it takes to have a County Court Judgment removed from your credit record.
What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgement, also known as a CCJ, is a court order created against you for a debt to another person, bank, or loan company that you have failed to repay under the terms laid out by the loan contract.
Whether you failed to pay your mortgage on time, or you’re behind on your mobile phone contract, a CCJ gives your creditor legal power to force you to repay the debt by terms dictated by the court.
Judgments for these sums of money are entered on the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines (www.trustonline.org.uk) and will remain on the register for 6 years if no action is taken to remove it.
CCJs are made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland operates a similar process of collecting money judgements called ‘decrees’. You can check for a decree in the same way on the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines.
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What happens if I receive a CCJ?
You will receive notification of your CCJ by post and it will include how much you owe, how to pay, a deadline for payment, and whom you must pay, including any court fee.
You should act promptly if you receive a CCJ. If it’s your opinion that you shouldn’t have to repay the money involved, you will be given the opportunity to present that legal position in a court hearing.
If you choose not to respond to the CCJ against you, you will receive what’s known as a default judgment.
A default judgment means you have failed to engage in the process and the CCJ will be therefore be enforced by default.
You will be forced to comply with the terms of the default judgment or face
People worried about their ability to repay a CCJ can use government legislation to stop pressure for payment and write off up to 81% of their total unsecured debt.
How does a County Court Judgment (CCJ) affect my credit rating?
CCJs and credit reference agencies
Credit reference agencies are independent organisations that hold information about your financial behaviour and use it to assign you a credit score.
Your credit score and credit report (or credit file) are utilised by any bank, business, insurance company, or money lender to make a decision on whether or not you are a healthy risk when looking to obtain credit.
It could be an application for a bank, building society, or agency loan, a credit card, store or catalogue credit, car loan, mortgage or many other types of personal or business credit.
If your credit-worthiness isn’t acceptable due to the information available on your credit report they will then choose to deny your application.
Will a CCJ harm my credit record?
Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines
Any active CCJ will be added to a public database called the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines. It will remain on this public register for a period of six years.
All the information contained on the register is part of the public domain and can be found by searching the register online. Your CCJ will also be noted on your credit file.
When a CCJ is added to your credit report it shows the sum of money involved, the case and court number, and the date the court order was enforced.
It will be searchable online via the Registry Trust.
Having this information on your credit record will alert any possible new creditors that you have admitted owing, and failing to pay, debt in the past.
A poor credit record could very likely stop them from allowing you to open a bank account, take out a mortgage, or access other lines of credit.
Trouble obtaining credit
In some cases landlords will access your credit report to check any financial implications that may suggest you will be a poor tenant.
If your report shows failure to pay rent, mortgage repayments or utility bills in the past this will affect your ability to secure accommodation.
Your report may also be considered by employers and businesses in order to ascertain whether you are financially reputable as a customer, new supplier or employee.
Anyone who has a negative credit score due to their debt levels can turn to government-approved legislation to write off up to 81% of debt they can’t afford and begin to build their credit rating again.
How long does a CCJ take to be removed from your credit file?
Typically, CCJ stay on your credit file for a period of six years from the date of the judgment.
After 6 years the CCJ is automatically removed from the register. Once removed, your creditor no longer has the power of the law to continue to claim repayment.
Your debt and the reference to it will be written off.
What methods are available to affect a CCJ?
There are five methods of taking action against a County Court Judgement. Not all of them will remove the CCJ from the register but they should have a positive impact on your credit file.
- Paying the CCJ in full within a month
- Paying the CCJ in full after 30 days
- Setting aside the judgement
- Waiting 6 years
- Amending incorrect detail
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CCJ removal – Ways to get rid of your County Court Judgment
If you’re served with a CCJ, then it’s important that you pay it in order to avoid any further legal costs or action.
There are two ways you can pay it back, either in full or in instalments.
However, the quicker you pay it the better as you may be able to avoid it even being registered on your credit file in the first place.
Paying the CCJ within a month
Your CCJ can appear on your credit report in as little as a few days of the judgement being made yet if you can repay the full amount within one calendar month details will be completely removed from the Register of Orders and also from your credit report.
The CCJ does not get automatically removed on making full payment to your creditor; the responsibility is left to the creditor to make the court aware that you have done so.
On settling the debt you may want to pursue your creditor to make sure they inform the court in order for removal of the CCJ from the register.
If the creditor fails to alert the court of your payment you may inform the court yourself.
You will need to provide proof of the full balance of payment and you will be required to pay a fee of £15.
Paying the debt in full after 30 days
If you cannot manage to repay the debt in full within the initial 30-day period but pay the CCJ in due course then you will be awarded a certificate of satisfaction.
This will also be marked on the public register and your credit report.
The CCJ will not be removed but will be marked as satisfied. Unpaid CCJs will be marked unsatisfied.
A satisfied CCJ will be viewed as a more favourable outcome with future creditors than an unsatisfied CCJ, and may make credit slightly easier to acquire.
A CCJ will remain on your credit record for six years from the date of judgement whether marked as satisfied or unsatisfied.
After that time has passed, credit reference agencies will wipe the CCJ from your credit file.
Set aside the CCJ
If you don’t believe that you owe the money in the CCJ, for any legal or associated justifiable reason, you can apply to set aside the CCJ.
Reasons you might want to set aside include if the debt isn’t yours, the details of the loan or loan amount were incorrect, the original claim was sent to the wrong address, or you didn’t receive it for any other acceptable reason.
N244 claim form and court fee
You can file an application notice (using the N244 claim form) and send it to the court.
You may have to pay the court a fee of £255. The court fee can be paid in cash, or by debit or credit card. If you cannot afford the court fee, you can request a ‘remission’ of the fee.
You will have to attend a private hearing to explain why you don’t owe the money detailed in your CCJ.
If you fail to attend the hearing then your application will be rejected and you will be ordered to make the full payment.
If the court’s findings reveal that you do not owe the money the CCJ is removed from the register in a period of three to four weeks.
Methods that won’t remove a CCJ – Credit repair companies
Often a business will claim they can repair your credit report, suggesting that they can help you ‘legally’ remove a CCJ held against you.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned that such companies are often delivering false or misleading information, many as a front for selling additional loans, incorporating high charges for their services.
The OFT states that these disreputable businesses and their operations can often result in clients committing acts of perjury that can lead to further prosecution.
It also advises involvement could create extended problems financially and lead them deeper into debt.
The only way to remove County Court Judgments is through the action of the County Court
CCJ removal solicitor
Some people decide to challenge the CCJ rather than pay it, and their are solicitors that specialise in CCJ removal.
If this is a route you are interested in, make sure the solicitor in question is trustworthy – an authorisation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority is a good indication.
Debt management companies
Similarly, there are debt management companies who may be able to offer you free advice and guidance on how to get your CCJ removed, but you should always do your research and make sure you’re working with a reputable company.
Leading organisations can help manage debts owed using government legislation to write off up to 81% of unsecured debt, stop pressure from people you owe money to and reduce monthly payments.