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How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file? article
How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file? article

You’re maybe aware of ‘CCJs’, or, to give them their full name – County Court Judgements. A CCJ can seriously impact your credit report – and therefore, a lot of people want to know how long a CCJ will stay on your credit file.

We’ll take a look at what exactly a CCJ is and how long County Court Judgments will remain attached to your credit history – as well as busting a couple of myths along the way.

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What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?

A county court judgement is a court order that can be registered against you in England and Wales should you fail to repay an amount of money that you owe.

The process that a creditor goes through to apply for a CCJ involves you receiving a letter called a ‘County Court Judgement Claim Form’.

Nobody enjoys the feeling of court papers arriving at their home. While you might be concerned to receive this, it’s probably not going to be a surprise – creditors will have gone through a lengthy process of trying to contact you prior to taking court action.

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Why choose Creditfix?

  • Write off unsecured debts over £6,000
  • Stop interest and charges soaring
  • Reduced payments from £110 per month

What should you do if you receive a CCJ?

There will be details of how you should act on the claim form, however, it’s worth remembering that if you can settle the debt – usually within 30 days – you could avoid having the CCJ against your name for too long, and won’t be at risk of legal action.

Whether you can pay or not, now would be a good time to seek some debt advice from a debt advisor. There are options you can pursue if you don’t agree with the claim or need to prepare evidence to defend against the ensuing court order.

Government-approved debt relief solutions, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), can help you legally write off unsecured debt, stop pressure from people you owe money to, and help you gradually repair your credit rating.

Common myths about CCJs

It’s not uncommon for people to give you their own version of how CCJs work – but be warned, CCJs will be issued regardless of any myths or misconceptions about them. We’ll have a look at some of the most common things you might hear about how CCJs work.

“A CCJ isn’t against you, it’s against your address”

There are instances where you might be unaware that a CCJ has been issued against you. This can happen when a lender does not have your most up to date contact details – including your current address.

If a CCJ has been sent to your wrong address, you might be under the impression a CCJ isn’t registered against you – but will in fact impact the address at which the creditor thought you would be found.

This isn’t the case – and is the reason that lenders need a detailed address history from you when you apply for loans, mortgages, credit cards and other payment agreements.

If you’ve moved away from a property and know there are debts that haven’t caught up with you yet, you could be in the process of receiving a CCJ. Don’t let people think you’ve chosen to ignore a CCJ, let all your creditors know your present address.

“Don’t pay off the CCJ debt and it’ll eventually go away”

A CCJ will be removed from your credit file at the end of 6 years – whether or not you’ve paid the full amount. With that in mind, it might sound like a good idea to just continue to avoid paying toward the debt – but that’s a very risky approach.

Depending on what the debt is for, your creditors may be able to chase the debt in other ways – including sending bailiffs or as an ‘attachment of earnings’ that takes money from your pay or benefits before they reach you. They may even register a claim against a property you own.

What’s more, having an unsatisfied CCJ on your credit file means you’re going to find it difficult to get any credit in the future, even mobile phone contracts and bank accounts.

“A CCJ will be changed to ‘satisfied’ when you’ve paid it off”

While this should happen in theory – it often doesn’t. When you’ve made your final repayment, you should contact the lender and the court to make sure it’s marked as being ‘satisfied’ on their records and the public database.

“If you’re moving abroad a CCJ doesn’t matter”

Even if you’re leaving England and Wales, you can’t leave your CCJ behind. CCJ’s can be enforced throughout the European Union and with a number of other countries around the world. It’s highly likely that the debt will be pursued, no matter where in the world you live.

“Only credit reference agencies pay attention to your credit report”

While it’s true that credit reference agencies pay particular attention to your credit report, unpaid debt, and missed payments, in order to update your credit score, they’re not the only people who check your credit report.

Your credit report is available via a public register, so your credit record is at lenders’ fingertips.

Many lenders will examine the details that appear on your credit file to decide whether to lend to you, so having a CCJ – or remaining debt that’s unpaid – on your credit report can make it difficult for you to access further credit.

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How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file?

If you can’t or don’t repay the full amount of the claim within the preceding month, a CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years, as well as the public register of judgments orders and fines.

That 6 years applies whether or not you have ‘satisfied’ the CCJ – i.e. whether or not you’ve paid the amount off. A CCJ reflects poorly on your ability to repay a debt – and even a satisfied CCJ is often still viewed negatively by lenders.

This will lower your credit rating, and having a lower credit rating can impact your ability to access new credit agreements:

  • Being accepted for a mortgage,
  • Getting a better deal on your mobile phone contract
  • Even a bank account with a new bank could be a challenge.

If you’re not sure whether you have a CCJ on your credit record, you can contact a credit reference agency like ClearScore or Equifax and ask for a free copy of your statutory credit report.

When is a CCJ removed from your credit report?

If you’ve found yourself with a CCJ it’s not the end of the world financially – hundreds are issued every day – and they don’t indicate anything about your financial or social background, there are millionaires and large businesses that have CCJs.

When you have a CCJ it is absolutely vital that you pay the amount that’s been set each month. If you don’t, you might find that bailiffs attend your property to arrange payment of the debt – and don’t forget, even if they do, the CCJ will stick around on your credit report for six years, so it makes sense to make payments without increasing your financial stress levels.

How to avoid CCJs

Quite simply, if you want to avoid a CCJ you should pay the debt off – but we realise this isn’t always possible. Here are some useful steps to take to avoid CCJs.

Talk to you creditors

Talking to your creditor is always the best course of action for avoiding a County Court Judgment. A lender won’t be applying for a CCJ as a way of punishing you – it’s simply a last resort when it comes to getting paid the money they owe.

If you talk to a company you owe money to they’re almost certainly going to be able to come to an agreement about a payment plan you can contribute toward to remove your debt, rather than having to go ahead with enforcement action.

Provide evidence of what how much money you can afford to pay

You should try to evidence any claim you make about affordability of payments by evidencing your income and outgoings – this lets a lender know that you’re taking the debt seriously and paying as much (but not more) than you can. Communicating and showing good will toward the debt is the best way to avoid a CCJ.

Where can I get debt advice and more information on County Court Judgments?

If you’re worried about a CCJ and repaying your debts, there are government-approved solutions available that can reduce your monthly debt repayments to as little as £85.

Where can I get more advice on How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file? and other debt solutions?

To discuss your options and get the support you need to deal with your debt today, contact us now on 0800 0431 431 or click the button to get started

Maxine McCreadie

Maxine is an experienced writer, specialising in personal insolvency. With a wealth of experience in the finance industry, she has written extensively on the subject of Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Protected Trust Deed’s, and various other debt solutions.

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Our debt experts, and insolvency practitioners continually monitor the personal finance and debt industry, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

March 13 2018

Written by
Maxine McCreadie

Edited by
Maxine McCreadie