Worried that you have been issued with a CCJ? You can find out if you have any CCJs for free online. You may be surprised at the number of UK residents walking around unaware that they have been issued with a CCJ recently. If you have a hunch or just want peace of mind, this guide is for you.
Read on to learn more about County Court Judgements (CCJs) and where to look to see if you have been issued with one in the last six years.
What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a decision by the County Court. If the CCJ is a request for one party to pay a monetary sum to another party – due to debt – then this will be recorded in the Register for Judgments, Order and Fines.
Authorised and regulated credit reference agencies will then use the information on the register to update an individual’s credit report.
The credit report is then consulted by creditors when you apply for a credit card, loan or other credit to help them decide if they should approve your application. It can even be looked at by a bank if you apply for a new savings or bank account.
Lenders will only apply for a CCJ after exhausting other options and chasing you for the money. However, with a CCJ they can go on to enforce the debt with other means, such as an attachment of earnings order or bailiffs.
These further actions can increase your debt due to fees. For example, a bailiff can charge hundreds of pounds if they have to visit you to take control of goods to be sold at auction.
Can you have a CCJ without knowing?
You should be informed if you are being taken to the County Court about a debt in a letter. However, there are limited cases when the processes are not followed correctly or due to a change of address not being recorded, you are not notified of the legal action or the subsequent CCJ. These instances are uncommon but not impossible.
The creditor is allowed to serve notice at your last known address if extensive measures have been taken to find your new address without success.
Is a CCJ public information?
When a County Court Judgment is issued it is added to a public register, namely the Register for Judgments, Order and Fines. This means members of the public will be able to see a record of your CCJ. Anyone searching for this information will be able to see your name and address, case number and details about the judgment, including the money owed.
The “CCJ register” does not contain records about lenders or claimants.
If you have been issued with a judgment recently, you might be able to avoid having it recorded on the register – and thus avoid it appearing on your credit file. If you pay the full amount owed within one month from the date it was issued, it will not be recorded.
If you pay back in full but did not do so within 30 days of the date the CCJ was issued, it will still appear on the register and your credit file for the next six years. It will however be recorded as satisfied.
How can I find out if I have a CCJ for free?
The easiest and free way to check if you have a County Court Judgment is to get a copy of your credit report. This is also a great way to check what debt you owe.
Use a credit rating agency that is registered in England and Wales and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. By using the best credit report agency, you can be more sure of an accurate search.
You can also check online by using the CCJ register, but the process is not as simple as using an online credit report website.
How to check your credit report for CCJs
A County Court Judgment will be listed on your credit report as such. All you need to do is to consult your credit score online to see if you have a CCJ. For extra reassurance, you may want to consult the CCJ register, which can also be done online.
A word on credit reference agencies
If this is your first time using a credit report agency, you should be aware of the small fee for a subscription. Many agencies will allow you to browse for free for so long before charging you an account subscription fee. To avoid paying the agency, you should sign up and then unsubscribe before your trial is over.
If it is not your first time using a credit reference agency, you could use an alternative one so you don’t have to pay. There are a number of reliable and registered options, including:
How do I find out who I owe a CCJ to?
Although it is relatively easy and free to find out if you have a CCJ, the same cannot always be said for finding out to which creditor you owe the money. However, CCJ details such as the court that issued it will appear on your credit report. You can then contact that specific court to ask to whom you owe the money. There is typically a £6 fee to make this request.
Most people will automatically know the creditor that pushed for a CCJ because the creditor will have chased them for the debt previously.
But if you find out you have a CCJ out of the blue, it could be a mystery until you do some digging.
How do I get a CCJ set aside?
Debtors can apply to have a CCJ set aside for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons to ask for this is because the debtor did not receive notification of the claim at their correct address.
A letter should have been served at their address beforehand, so the debtor had the chance to defend themself against the business, loan company etc.
But you should not try to have the CCJ set aside if you know you owe the debt and believe you will not have defended the case successfully. Doing this as a delaying tactic will result in rejection and it could mean paying more fees.
How long will a CCJ last?
If you receive a CCJ and pay the full amount within 30 days, the CCJ will not appear on your credit report. If you pay after one month, the CCJ will be marked as satisfied but it will not be removed for 6 years.
What happens to a CCJ after 6 years?
A CCJ stays on your credit report for 6 years from the date it is issued, and then it is automatically deleted. This is the same for other debt that is listed on your credit report. It will be marked as satisfied if you have paid within those 6 years, but it will still be visible on your credit report. The CCJ will be removed after 6 years even if you did not pay back the money owed during those years.
However, the CCJ does not expire under The Limitations Act, meaning lenders could ask the court for permission to enforce the CCJ much later with bailiffs or other debt enforcement methods.
Do CCJs affect your credit score?
CCJs are one of the most damaging additions to a credit report because it shows you were not able to come to an arrangement with creditors to repay and those creditors needed to take you to court.
But if you can satisfy a CCJ and improve your credit rating in other ways, you will be able to get credit again in the future.
If you are seeking credit to solve other debt problems, speak with a charity first and discuss the various debt solutions which are available. You may be able to wipe some or all of your existing debt.
Can you get County Court Judgments (CCJs) removed?
A County Court Judgement will be removed from your credit report after six years. It will not be added to your credit report if you make a full payment in the first month since the CCJ is issued. If you make a full payment after the first month, your credit file records should show the CCJ marked as satisfied.
If you need to provide evidence that you have paid back the debt associated with a CCJ – possibly to apply for more credit – you can apply to the courts for a Certificate of Satisfaction.
Free debt advice!
Dealing with CCJs and trying to understand the process can be confusing. Hopefully we have answered many of your questions in this County Court Judgement guide.
If you need more help or have other questions about debts, search for more of our CCJ blogs or contact a registered debt advice charity.
Debt advice charities can offer tailored help and advice with all of your debts and CCJ concerns. They will even speak with your creditors on your behalf and negotiate debt solutions when appropriate. Make the most of their services!