A county court judgment (CCJ) will stay on your credit file for six years, even if you manage to pay off your debts during that time. Having a CCJ will negatively affect your credit score and limit your chances of being approved for new credit, such as a mortgage.
Lenders may be reluctant to approve credit applications from customers with a CCJ because it could be a risk that they won’t be able to get their money back.
Although a CCJ can stay on your record for six years, the negative impact on your credit score decreases over time. For example, a CCJ from four years ago will be penalised less than one within the last 12 months.
The guidelines below relating to CCJs apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information on court judgments for debt in Scotland, contact Accountant in Bankruptcy, Scotland’s insolvency service.
» MORE: What is a CCJ?
Can a CCJ be removed from your credit report?
Having a CCJ may feel daunting, but there are several ways that you could get it removed from your credit report:
Repaying within one calendar month
A CCJ will be removed from your credit file if you repay the full amount owed within one calendar month of receiving it.
Once paid, you can apply for a ‘certificate of cancellation’ from the court that issued your judgment. You will need to complete an N443 application form and post it along with proof of payment. There is a fee for the certificate, but you may not need to pay this if you are on a low-income.
It could take up to four weeks for your CCJ to be removed from the register. Once it has been removed, each credit reference agency will be notified and the CCJ will be taken off of your credit report too.
If you pay off the full amount owed after a month, you can apply for a certificate of satisfaction. This updates the status of your CCJ on the public register and on your credit report to show that you have paid off the debt.
The CCJ is ‘set aside’
The court may decide to cancel or ‘set aside’ your CCJ if you have a good reason to dispute the payment order. You may request for a CCJ to be set aside for the following reasons:
- The lender incorrectly calculated what you owe.
- You were unaware that an order was taken out, as it was sent to the wrong address or got lost in the post.
- You repaid the debt before a CCJ was issued.
- The debt was taken out longer than six years ago and you are no longer liable for the debt.
- If you believe that the claim doesn’t comply with the Consumer Credit Act.
You can apply for a CCJ to be set aside by completing an N244 form.
Your insurance company is responsible
You may be able to remove a CCJ from your credit report if the debt is related to an insurance claim. You will need to send a letter from the insurance company, or its solicitors, to the public register. The letter must include the following details:
- confirmation that the CCJ relates to an insurance claim
- case number
- judgment date
- how much is owed
The register will alert each credit reference agency once the letter is verified. They will remove it from your credit report. Your CCJ will remain on the public register for six years, or earlier if the court sends a notification to remove it.
The CCJ is over six years old
A CCJ will be removed automatically from your credit report after six years, even if you haven’t paid off the debt.
It is really important to pay off your CCJ unless you are able to get the court to set it aside because not doing so will affect your finances.
What happens if you ignore a CCJ?
If you ignore a CCJ, it could lead to your lender taking more serious action against you. A creditor may do one of the following things if you ignore a CCJ:
- Send High Court enforcement officers to your home to take your items as payment for the debt.
- Arrange for the money you owe to be deducted from your wages.
- Have bailiffs visit your home, where your possessions or money could be taken to help pay off your debt.
So whether you think you might struggle to repay the CCJ or would like to appeal, it is best to contact the court as soon as possible. It will allow you to dispute the CCJ, negotiate a more affordable payment plan, or cancel it altogether.
What should I do if there’s a CCJ on my credit file that I was unaware of?
Ordinarily, you’ll be informed about your CCJ when it has been filed against you. In some cases, however, the papers may be sent to the wrong address or not reach you at all.
It’s important to regularly check your credit report to identify any problems such as CCJs as soon as they happen. If the CCJ is expected, you can contact the lender for more information and decide the best next steps.
If you believe that the CCJ is fraudulent, try to act as quickly as possible. Start by contacting the lender that issued the CCJ for more details and to open an investigation.
While the investigation is under way, you can request a ‘Notice of Correction’ from the credit reference agencies. This is a short statement that you can add to your credit file for free to explain special circumstances linked to a record on your credit report, such as a fraudulent CCJ or missed bill. A Notice of Correction gives lenders more context about your credit history and may improve your chances of borrowing too.
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