An outstanding CCJ will negatively impact your credit score. Find out how long a CCJ lasts on your credit report and what you can do to remove it.
What is a County Court Judgement?
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a court order issued in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Scottish equivalent of a CCJ is known as a decree. You may receive a CCJ if you’ve failed to make repayments to a creditor.
Getting a CCJ should not come as a surprise as you will have received letters from the lender about the outstanding debt. Often, creditors will only go to court to request a CCJ if they’ve continually had no feedback from you regarding repayments.
A CCJ will be issued by post and will contain the following information:
- The amount you owe
- How to repay the owed amount (in full or in instalments)
- Payment deadline
- Who to pay
This judgement will be marked on your credit report for six years and could heavily impact your chances of getting credit such as a mortgage or loan.
How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file?
Evidence of a CCJ stays on your credit file for six years. Having a CCJ on your credit file could impact your ability to be approved for:
- mobile contracts
- credit cards
Although a CCJ stays on your credit file for six years, its impact on your credit score will reduce over time if you pay it off in regular instalments. Lenders may be more likely to offer you credit if you’re seen to be paying off your CCJ, and doing this will gradually increase your credit score.
A CCJ will be removed from your credit file if you repay the full amount within one calendar month after receiving it. How else can you get a CCJ removed from your credit file? Read on for more information.
Can you get a CCJ removed?
You can have the CCJ removed from the public register and your credit file by paying the full amount off within one month. Once you’ve settled the debt from the CCJ with your creditor, you’ll need to obtain a certificate of cancellation.
To do this, fill out a form N443 and send it to the court that originally issued the CCJ, along with evidence of full repayment. There is a fee for obtaining a certificate of cancellation, but support is available for those on low income.
If you believe that you don’t owe the amount stated in the CCJ, then you can request that the CCJ is cancelled, or ‘set aside’. You’ll need to provide evidence that the CCJ is incorrect and fill in a form N244. Once again, this may incur a court fee and you may have to attend a private court hearing to give evidence to support your claim. Failure to attend the hearing will result in you needing to pay the debt outlined in the CCJ.
The CCJ may also be set aside if you didn’t receive or respond to the initial claim sent by the court. This may be the case if the claim was sent to the wrong address, or sent to the correct address while you were away on a long trip.
What would happen if I ignored a CCJ?
Ignoring a CCJ will likely lead to further action taken against you. Failure to respond to a CCJ could result in the creditor attempting to reclaim the debt that you owe through other means.
If you are unable to make the repayments, you’ll need to arrange a different repayment plan with the court. This will avoid serious consequences such as the following.
One possible consequence of ignoring a CCJ is that the lender will request that the debt is recovered by bailiffs. Once instructed, bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers are given legal right to visit your home. They will remove and sell any possessions which equal the value of your owed debt.
Frozen bank account through a third party debt order
Your creditor may request to apply for another court order if they believe you have sufficient funds in your bank account. If they believe you are withholding funds, the creditor may apply for an interim third party debt order which tells your bank to freeze your account. A judge will then decide if your account can remain frozen within 28 days after the interim order is requested.
Wage deductions through an attachment of earnings order
If you are earning, then your creditor can request an attachment of earnings order. This order means that your employer will deduct the amount owed directly from your wages and send it to the court. This order cannot be taken if you are self-employed or on benefits.
How do I remove a CCJ?
There are four main ways to remove a CCJ from your credit file.
Pay off the debt outlined in the CCJ
Paying off the full amount owed within one month of receiving the CCJ will remove it from your credit file. Remember to obtain a certificate of cancellation to prove that the debt has been repaid.
Set the CCJ aside
Setting the CCJ aside requires a good reason. For example, you may appeal to set the CCJ aside if you have evidence that the debt was previously repaid.
You may also apply to set a CCJ aside if you didn’t receive the claim originally due to absence at your home address or the claim being sent to the wrong address.
Get an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
An IVA may be a good solution for those who have high levels of debt. You will work alongside an insolvency practitioner to come to a legally binding arrangement which allows you to repay debts according to a strict plan.
Wait until the CCJ is no longer valid
If you don’t repay your debts within the first month, your CCJ will remain on your credit report for six years. Paying off the debts in full after the initial month will not remove the CCJ from your credit file, but it will be shown as cleared to lenders. Failure to repay the amount owed within six years could result in further legal action.
Find out more about CCJs, credit scores and more with Norton Finance.