What is a CCJ and what impact will it have on your life?
A County Court Judgment, or CCJ, as you’ll hear more often, is a judgment against you for an unpaid debt of some kind. It could be for something trivial – but it can have a big impact on your life. In Scotland, it will be called a “decree”; it’s the same thing. We show you here how to remove a CCJ.
Perhaps you didn’t pay for parking in a carpark somewhere – a ticket machine was out of order. Because you entered into a contract when you read the carpark signage, when you failed to pay you broke the contract’s terms. This means that the car park management has the legal power to make you pay your debt – that’s where the CCJ comes into play.
Sometimes you might not even be aware that there is a CCJ against your name – this sounds ridiculous, but it’s perfectly possible. As you’re notified of a CCJ by post, if you change address or it goes to the wrong address, it might not find you. That’s where your problems begin. Because as far as the court knows, you owe money and you don’t care. And the details of the CCJ are all about you, and not about the person to whom you allegedly owe the money. So it’s your problem, not theirs.
How long does a CCJ last?
A CCJ stays on your record for six years and can affect your credit score and credit report – find out more about this here – so if you’re applying for a mortgage, a car loan or any sort of finance, you might find it tough going. If you’re trying to rent somewhere to live, a potential landlord might check your credit report to see if you’re a safe bet as a tenant. A CCJ might even affect you if you’re applying for a new job, unbelievable though this may seem.
So what can you do if you have a CCJ against your name?
If you pay the amount due in full within a month, it’s as if the CCJ never existed: your name no longer features on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines which you can find here.) This works as long as the court knows you’ve paid your debt – otherwise you still have a problem. (It’s the responsibility of the person to whom you owed the money to alert them – so you might want them to confirm with you that this has actually happened, or you won’t be taken off the Register.)
What if you need help and can’t pay in full?
You can sort things out by paying the amount due outside the 30-day period. So even if you can’t pay your debt in full within the month, you shouldn’t worry: make arrangements to pay as soon as possible, then apply for a Certificate of Satisfaction, legal proof of payment. This means that although the CCJ is still on the Register, it’s marked as “satisfied”, so your credit rating is impacted positively. You can get advice on how to deal with debt here.
Alternatively, you can have a CCJ set aside – if you think you didn’t deserve it, or it never got to you. There is a fee chargeable here, and you have to attend a hearing to defend your claim, so be aware of this. It’s time-consuming, and you need a reasonable understanding of the legal system to make it happen.
What NOT to do
Watch out for sharks! There are always people ready to pounce on anyone in trouble and try to make some money. A credit repair company will NOT sort out your CCJ problems, even if it says it can “legally” remove a CCJ. It can’t. What it can do is charge crazy amounts of money for its services and often extend your financial problems, leading you deeper into debt by persuading you to take on additional loans with high interest rates.
What TO do
Lender & Court are highly knowledgeable and well-practised in CCJ removal – call us for help!