How To Remove a CCJ From Your Credit File – What You Need To Know
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. This 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.
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.
How does this affect my credit score?
Your credit score and credit report (or credit file) are utilised by any bank, business or moneylender to make a decision on whether or not you are a healthy risk when applying for 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 type 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.
When a CCJ is added to your credit report it shows the sum of money involved, the case and court number and the date it was enforced. What it doesn’t show is any information about the claimant. This information will alert any possible new creditors that you have failed to pay debt in the past and this could very likely stop them from entering an agreement with you or if they do choose to they will likely offer highly elevated rates of interest.
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.
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 details
Paying the debt in full 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 30 days all 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 settle the debt 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 and may make credit slightly easier to acquire.
A CCJ will remain on your credit file for six years from the date of judgement whether marked as satisfied or unsatisfied.
Setting aside the CCJ
If you don’t believe that you owe the money set about in the CCJ via any legal or associated justifiable reason; for example, 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, you can file an application notice (using the form N244) and send it to the court.
You may have to pay the court a fee of £255 and you will have to attend a private hearing to explain why you don’t owe the money. 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.
Waiting 6 years
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.
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 a CCJ is through the action of the County Court.
Always seek professional advice where your finances are concerned via a reputable trust-worthy company.