Once a CCJ (County Court Judgement) has been put in place, it will be noted on your credit record for a period of 6 years.
At the end of the 6 years, the CCJ will automatically be removed from your credit record, regardless of whether you have repaid the related debt or not. The creditor will no longer be able to enforce the repayment conditions set out in the CCJ.
The existence of a CCJ on your credit record will undoubtedly affect your credit rating, making it difficult for you take out a mortgage, apply for credit or in some cases obtain reasonably priced insurance. It may even affect your chances of employment. There can also be consequences for any existing loans or credit cards, possibly leading to increased interest rates.
As such, there are a number of ways you may be able to arrange for early CCJ removal from your credit record before the six-year point.
Make full payment within a month of the court order
The CCJ will appear on your credit record within days of the order being made. However, if you make full payment of the amount owed within a month, the CCJ will be removed from your credit record.
It is the responsibility of the creditor to inform the court that full payment has been made. If they do not and a month passes, then the CCJ will remain on your credit record. Should they tell the court that your payment was made after the month, then the CCJ will be marked as ‘satisfied’ on your credit record but will still remain until the end of the 6 years.
The best way to ensure that the CCJ is removed from your credit record within the month is:
- When you make full payment to your creditor, ask that they inform the court of your payment and state the time period within which they should do that.
- When you have made full payment, inform the court yourself. You will need to provide proof of payment and pay a fee of £15.00.
If you can pay in full within a month and have the CCJ removed, there will be no trace on your credit record or history that the CCJ ever existed.
Have the CCJ set aside
To have a CCJ set aside, it must have been made as a ‘default judgement’.
This means that the judgement was made without your involvement because, for whatever reason, you did not respond to the claim being made against you. So for instance, if you were unaware that a CCJ had been brought against you until you noticed a CCJ had been noted on your credit record, you are the subject of a default judgement.
Where the CCJ is a default judgement and you can demonstrate that you have a strong case to bring against the claim, then it may be possible for the CCJ to be set aside. Generally, you will also have some level of dispute with the claim amount.
If, for example, you weren’t made aware of the CCJ being brought against you and it would have been possible for you to make full payment either beforehand or within the first month of the order being issued, you may apply to the court for the CCJ to be set aside.
Where you received the claim form and responded within the given time limit, you cannot apply for the CCJ to be set aside unless you can prove that the CCJ was wrongfully put in place.
Should you wish to apply to have your CCJ set aside, you must submit form N244 to the court with a fee of £255.
When completing the form, you will be expected to explain your reasons for wishing to set aside the CCJ, reasons for your non response to the claim form that was sent to you, details of any supporting evidence or information, and your availability for a court hearing.
It is advised to inform the creditor that you are seeking to have the CCJ set aside.
Generally, you will be expected to attend a hearing locally. You will receive confirmation of the date of this hearing. You, the judge and a representative of your creditor will attend the hearing in a private room, rather than an open court.
On occasion, more than one hearing is required should the case prove to be complicated.
Should the judge rule in your favour:
- where you claimed that you didn’t owe any money to the creditor, the CCJ will be cancelled and removed from your credit record
- where you disagreed with the amount claimed for and believe that you owe less money, the judge will cancel the CCJ and set up a new CCJ to reflect the reduced debt
Where the judge rules in the creditor’s favour, the original CCJ will be cancelled and a new CCJ be brought against you for the same amount.
Should you fully repay the amount owed after a month has passed since the court order was made, then the CCJ will remain on your credit record until the 6 year period comes to an end but it may be marked as ‘satisfied’.
This process, however, is not automatic and either you or the creditor will need to apply to the court for the CCJ to be marked as satisfied. Should this be granted, the court will then contact the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines to make the relevant change.
When you pay your creditor in full, you may request that they inform the courts on your behalf, or you may take it on yourself to contact the courts and request that the CCJ be noted as ‘satisfied’. If you contact the court yourself, you will need to provide evidence of your payment.
You may also apply for a Certificate of Satisfaction by writing to the court where the case was heard, enclosing the court fee of £15 and providing:
- the CCJ claim number, and
- evidence that the debt has been fully repaid, or
- a statement that you have done your best to obtain such evidence of payment but have been unsuccessful, or
- a statement that the court already has evidence of your payment
Although this will not lead to the removal of the CCJ from your credit record before the 6 year period has ended, a ‘satisfied’ CCJ will have a less detrimental effect on your credit rating, than an ‘unsatisfied’, that is, still outstanding CCJ.
The satisfied CCJ will remain on your credit record until the end of the 6 years.
Do you need legal advice?
Tackling the removal of a CCJ from your credit record can be a complicated task to take on by yourself. Specialist legal advice can clarify the situation for you, help you compile the relevant evidentiary information, communicate with all parties on your behalf, and ensure that you have the best chance possible of safeguarding your credit record and rating.