Having any record of defaulted payments and CCJ’s on your credit file can impact your ability at gaining credit and can limit your borrowing options. As such, preventing CCJ’s should always be your first objective by resolving debts before they become overdue. This is not always possible however as some debts you might not even be aware of. In these situations the question becomes ‘How to clear a CCJ from a credit file?’
Step 1: Are you pre or post the 30 day payment window?
Just because you have received a CCJ it doesn’t immediately mean it goes on your credit file – although the clock is ticking so you need to act fast! If you pay your debt within 30 days of the CCJ being issued the matter will be resolved and no record of the judgement will go on your credit file.
As such, your first step should be to resolve the debt but only if you can do so before the due date on the letter you received from the court.
If the 30 day window has lapsed however, you will now have it on your credit file for up to 6 years. It is at this point you could be seriously hamstrung in your ability to seek finance for loans or a mortgage. We have even seen some clients be refused a position at a new company when their employer undertook a credit check which revealed the CCJ.
These missed CCJ’s the most common reasons people search for how to clear a CCJ from a credit file.
Step 2: Understanding why was the debt not paid
This might sound like an aggressive question, as if we’re pointing the figure of blame at you, however understanding why a debt was not paid could be your strongest defence.
Very often people receive a CCJ when they are subject to an unexpected debt they were never made aware of. The most common scenario is an individual who changes their address due to a house move around the time they received a parking ticket. As many car parks now track vehicles electronically, no physical ticket is left on your car. Instead you will be issued the ticket via the post.
These are completely automated systems so when the ticket is not paid it will automatically be elevated to the courts where a judge issues a CCJ. The courts issue the judgement through the post, but this is subject to the same problem of going to the wrong address.
To compound this issue, the DVLA can take up to 6 months to completely update their records. It’s during this lag in their systems the debt goes unnoticed.
If this chain of events (or one similar to it) can be proved, the courts will look very favourably on your case and, provided you put your argument across correctly, you stand a very good chance of having the CCJ removed from your record.
Step 3: Contact the court that issued the CCJ
If you have received the letters from the court it should state which one issued the order. If you didn’t get those letters however, we’d recommend reading our post on How to find out if you have a CCJ. This article details how you can find out the issuing court using the checkmyfile system.
Once you have identified the issuing court, you will need to contact them and present your case to a judge. You can read more on this in our How to remove a CCJ article. But in short you will need to explain your situation and convince them that not only will you pay, but the CCJ should be removed from your credit report. This will require an understanding of court etiquette, a knowledge of what documents to request from the creditor, and how strong your case is.
You should also have a good knowledge of the tight deadlines you’ll be working too to ensure you don’t get into more trouble.
Step 4: Check the CCJ has been removed
The court should do this for you but we would always recommend checking. To do this contact the Registry Trust and provide them with evidence the CCJ has been set aside. The best document to show them is the court order you will have been issued. If you don’t have this, contact the court again and request a copy.
Step 5: Pay the debt – but only after having the CCJ removed!
Firstly, if you’re past the initial 30 day payment window, paying the debt will not remove the CCJ from your credit file. It will simply mark it as ‘settled’ but remain on your report, impacting your ability to successfully apply for credit. Furthermore, once the debt is paid the court will be more resistant to removing the CCJ. As such, rushing to pay the debt can actually cause you more problems in some situations.
This is why you should always assess your options for having a CCJ removed. Even if you feel you have a weak case for doing so, take the time to understand your options.
We would also always recommend seeking professional advice from a specialist CCJ removal company like Lender & Court. Remember, the debt will always need to be paid, our objective is understanding how to clear a CCJ from a credit file.
Assuming you’ve gone through all of that, the court has heard your case, and regardless of the outcome, now’s the time to settle the debt and quickly. If you did have the CCJ removed it will likely have been on the understanding the debt will be settled quickly. Failure to do so will land you right back at square one with a far less lenient court listening to your case!