If you’ve recently received a County Court Judgement (or CCJ), your initial reaction is probably one of “This sounds really serious! What did I do?”. Being a good person you’ll probably start doubting it, however, but even this can lead to thoughts of fraud or identify theft. No matter what, it won’t take long for you to turn to Google and ask ‘How can a CCJ be removed?’
Before we answer how a CCJ can be removed, however, it’s important to know what one is and how you might have got one as this will all play into getting rid of it.
In this article, we’ll give you a brief summary of what a CCJ is, what to do when you get one and ultimately how to get the CCJ removed.
What is a CCJ?
In essence, a CCJ is simply a court order saying you have failed to pay some money you owe. They are usually issued for innocent mistakes like not paying a parking ticket. In fact, if you’ve recently moved house this would be our first port of call as the DVLA’s system can take 6 months to update. And that’s assuming you remembered to update the DVLA on your address change straight away.
Despite these seeming like minor mistakes that can be solved quickly, CCJ’s should be taken very seriously. Failing to deal with them properly can leave a mark on your credit file that follows you around for at least 6 years.
Having a CCJ on your credit file means many banks and loan companies will refuse you finance or give you less favourable rates. Employers in certain sectors might also dismiss your job application when seeing a CCJ on your file.
These refusals are how many people actually find out about a CCJ creating quite an embarrassing situation.
So, now we understand what a CCJ is, back to the original questions – How Can A CCJ Be Removed?
Stopping a CCJ before it happens
The company you owe money is required by law to send you a warning letter you are about to default on a debt. They must also state that if you fail to pay they will take legal action. Prevention is better than the cure so if you’ve received these notices, start talking to the creditor and agree to a payment schedule.
If you can’t repay the debt consider talking to a free debt advice service.
Things have probably progressed passed this point however if you’re looking at how a CCJ can be removed.
What to do when you get a CCJ?
The fact you’re looking into how can a CCJ be removed means you’ve made the first step in the right direction.
You’ve probably got a CCJ for a simple mistake. In fact, if the reason debt has gone unpaid is that the creditor couldn’t contact you the whole situation can seem unfair.
Don’t let any of this fool you, however. Once a CCJ has been issued things have just got very serious with a ticking clock over your head to respond in the right way.
Firstly, we would always recommend seeking expert legal advice. Companies like Lender & Court specialise is getting CCJs removed in the right way. From how to respond, to the information to request from the creditor, to how to deal with the court.
Secondly, whilst you will need to repay the debt, doing so straight away could actually make the situation worse as you will see in the next section…
Can’t I just pay the CCJ off?
Ironically this is not always your best option. Whilst paying the debt will stop everyone chasing you, the CCJ will remain on your credit report for up to 6 years marked as ‘settled’. Whilst an outstanding CCJ is worse than a settled one, it still tells the people you once defaulted on a debt.
Worse still, once you’ve paid the debt it can make it even harder to get a CCJ removed from your record.
To illustrate this let’s assume you received a CCJ for a missed parking ticket because you moved house and didn’t receive the letters. You finally receive notice of the CCJ and pay the fine. 2 years later you apply for a mortgage only to be refused as the CCJ is still on your credit file.
You approach the courts to have the CCJ removed but the judge deems the matter already resolved and throws your case out. You might then also be hit by the court with a bill to pay for the other party’s legal fees.
So now you’ve had your mortgage application declined, you’ve still got the CCJ on your credit report and you’ve been walloped by another fee to pay to add insult to injury.
If this sounds familiar, read on to find out how can a CCJ be removed.
How can a CCJ be removed from your credit report?
You will need to present your case to a judge, explain your situation and convince them that not only will you pay, but the CCJ should be removed from your credit report. This requires;
- An understanding of court etiquette to properly present your case
- An understanding of what the creditor might say to counter your argument and how to counter them
- A knowledge of what documents to request from the creditor
- A legal understanding of how, why and when CCJs can be issued to ensure the law was followed correctly – this could lead to a quick dismissal of the case in your favour
- A knowledge of the tight deadlines you’ll be working too to ensure you don’t get into more trouble
- How strong your case is – fighting a weak case might mean you lose and need to pay the creditors legal fees on top of the debt
Do I have a strong case for removing a CCJ?
The most common times a CCJ is successfully removed are when you can prove one of the following three were true;
- The papers were delivered to the wrong property
- You were not at the property when the papers were sent e.g. you were working away from home
- The claimant agrees to the judgement being ‘set aside’ (A CCJ being set aside is legal speak for it being removed)
The court will also consider how quickly you reacted when finding out you have a CCJ so don’t wait any longer than you need to.
I’ve had my CCJ removed, now what?
So the court has agreed to set aside your CCJ and it’s been removed from your credit report. Congratulations! That should be the end of the matter but the final act is ensuring the Registry Trust has been updated. This organisation is responsible for updating all the credit reference agencies. The court should do this but we always recommend you double-check.
When you contact them they will ask for evidence the CCJ has been set aside. The court should have issued you with a court order when making its decision. This is the best document to send the Registry Trust.
Getting a CCJ removed can be a difficult, exhausting and stressful process. It’s something most will never go through and few are experts at. What adds to the stress are the long term implications of getting it wrong.
For this reason, we always recommend getting an expert involved. At Lender & Court, we provide a free case assessment to start with so you understand your chances of success with us along with our fixed fees.
You probably don’t want to pay even more, but the purpose of our services should not be weighed up against this debt. Our service is to prevent the longer-term implications of a CCJ on your credit file preventing you from getting a new job, moving house or getting a business loan for your business.