County Court judgements (CCJs) can be taken out against you if you owe money to creditors and haven’t kept up with the agreed repayments – a step that is usually taken when other attempts to recover the debt have failed.
If your creditor goes down this route and the court decides you’re liable for the amount owed, a CCJ will be filed against you to outline the amount you have to repay and the time in which you have to repay it.
You’ll be notified via a County Claim Form, which will include details of the original debt, along with how and who you need to pay, when you need to pay them, and any court costs and other fees that might also be included. At this point, you still don’t actually have a CCJ against your name, but if you don’t respond to this notice within 14 days then you’ll be issued with one.
You can have more than one CCJ at any one time and, if you default on repayments to more than one creditor, a record of each will be shown on your credit file for six years after the date they were issued. This could have a serious impact on your credit score and your ability to get credit.
Who will see my CCJ?
A record of your CCJ is held by the Registry Trust and is part of the public information that is held on your credit report. This means that anyone who carries out a credit search against your name will be able to see it, including credit referencing agencies, banks, lenders, utility companies, landlords and potential employers.
How does a CCJ affect my credit record?
A CCJ is evidence that you’ve not been able to pay a debt, or refused to, and this could have a negative impact on your credit record for six years from the date of the judgement.
Having a CCJ on your credit file will affect your ability to get credit, but its impact could lessen over time, especially if you handle your credit correctly and make your repayments on time.
Can I remove a CCJ from my credit record?
Any CCJs you have on your credit file will automatically be removed after six years, but you can also apply to have them removed if they’re paid off in full within one month of being issued. If you pay it off in full any time after that, you can apply to have it marked as ‘satisfied’ on your report.
Here’s how to remove a CCJ:
- If you’ve paid your CCJ off within a month of it being issued, you can apply for a Certificate of Cancellation from the County Court hearing centre which issued the judgement. If you paid it off after a month it will stay on your file for six years, but you can use the Certificate of Cancellation to have it marked as ‘satisfied’. In both cases, you’ll need to use court form N443 Application.
- The N443 Application can’t be submitted online, so you’ll have to print off the form and send it in the post, along with proof that you’ve paid off the CCJ. There’s a court fee to do this, but if you’re on a low income you may be able to get this for free.
- When the court has the evidence it needs, they’ll contact the Registry Trust to remove the judgement from the public register.
Options for responding to the County Court Judgement
If you get a CCJ you’ll need to respond to it by the date highlighted in the letter to avoid further action being taken, and there are a couple ways you can do this:
- Pay the full amount
- Defending the claim (if you’ve already paid and don’t think you owe any money)
If you need more time to defend the claim, you can ask for a 14-day extension to respond by filling in the acknowledgement of service form in the response pack and sending it to the court address on the claim form.
What's the deadline?
The deadline for responding to the County Court Claim Form will be highlighted on the notice, and is usually 14 days from the date it was issued. If you don’t respond by the deadline, you’ll automatically be issued with CCJ that will affect your ability to get credit for the next six years.
To avoid getting issued with a CCJ, you’ll need to pay the debt off in full within 28 days of it being issued, otherwise you’ll automatically be issued with one.
What if I cannot keep to the terms?
If you can’t keep to the terms of the CCJ, your creditor can apply to the court to have the debt enforced in one of the following ways:
- Bailiffs – If the court grants permission for a bailiff to collect the debt, you could be visited at home or business address by a representative who will collect money or seize any belongings which could be sold to repay the debt. If this happens, you might be able to apply to the court to have the warrant suspended, provided you agree to pay back the money at an affordable rate.
- Attachment of Earnings Order – The money owed can be deducted directly from your wages by sending an Attachment of Earnings Order to your employer.
- Charging Order – If you own a property, whether mortgaged or owned outright, a Charging Order can be secured against it, which means you could lose your property if you don’t repay your debt.
Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines
If a CCJ is issued against you, it becomes part of the public information held on your credit report and the details will be added to the CCJ register – a public database officially known as the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines.
Any record of your CCJ will automatically be removed after six years, regardless of whether or not you’ve paid it off. If you still haven’t paid it off after six years, your creditor can apply to the court to have the CCJ extended.
You can use the Registry Trust website yourself to carry out your own CCJ check and make sure all the details are correct. This is something you might want to do before applying for credit.
Credit after a CCJ
Having a CCJ will affect your ability to get credit and can limit your borrowing options, but you might still be able to get credit after a CCJ.
Before you apply, use our eligibility checker to find out your chance of acceptance before you make a full application. Find out more by visiting our enquiry page.