CCJs are a type of court order that can be made against someone who owes debts to a creditor.
They’re usually used as a last resort after other methods, such as sending letters and making phone calls, have failed.
In this guide we’ll explore what a CCJ is, how a CCJ will impact your credit rating, and how long a CCJ stays on your credit report.
What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a Court Order that tells an individual or business to pay back an unpaid debt that they may owe.
This Court Order is valid in England and Wales, and means those with unpaid debts will be given a specific amount of time to repay the debt in full, otherwise they could face further legal action.
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Why do people receive CCJs?
As previously mentioned, creditors often apply for CCJs when more traditional methods of debt recovery have failed.
These include sending letters and making phone calls to the debtor, or even engaging the services of a debt collection agency.
If a creditor attempts to collect a debt and feels payments are being unfairly withheld by an individual, they can apply for a CCJ as a way of forcing the debtor to pay what they owe.
How will I know if I’ve received a CCJ?
Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines
When a CCJ is taken against you, it’s automatically listed on a public register known as the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines.
This register is maintained by the Registry Trust, and you can search the register via their website to check if your name appears.
Any CCJ taken against you will also be listed on your credit report, which is a document that provides a snapshot of your financial history.
Another way to check if you have received a CCJ is to request a copy of your credit report from one of the UK’s three main credit reference agencies, ClearScore, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Who can see my County Court Judgment?
Because the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines is a public database, people often worry that their peers will be able to view details of their CCJ.
In reality, your CCJ is only likely to be discovered by a very particular group of people.
Credit reference agencies
A credit reference agency is an independent organisation that monitors your financial behaviour and uses that behaviour to give you a score that represents your creditworthiness – that score is known as your credit rating.
Because credit reference agencies are responsible for updating your credit report, they will have access to information on any CCJ taken against you.
Lenders and creditors
If credit reference agencies are the people who monitor your financial behaviour and compile your credit history, lenders and creditors are the people who benefit most from that information.
A lender like a bank, mortgage broker, or insurance company will normally conduct a credit check before agreeing to lend you money, and will therefore be able to see details of your CCJs listed on your credit report.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of employers will have no idea you have received a CCJ in the past. Some more specialist employers, however, may conduct a credit check.
If you work in a field like law enforcement, or the financial sector, having a CCJ could have a negative impact on your job prospects. It may be best to declare any active CCJ to your employer, otherwise they could find out about it by themselves.
Will a CCJ impact my credit rating?
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) will appear on your credit report and can negatively affect your credit rating.
When a CCJ is issued, it will appear on your credit file, which means that potential lenders and other financial service providers will be able to view the judgement when you apply for services such as loans.
For as long as you have a CCJ listed on your credit report, your credit score may decrease as having a CCJ can be seen as a sign of irresponsible financial behaviour.
When your credit score decreases, potential lenders may be less likely to offer you services because they’re uncertain you’re going to pay them back in full.
Accessing further credit will be difficult; even a bank account could be off-limits with certain high street lenders.
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How long does a CCJ last on my credit report?
In terms of how long a CCJ will be listed on your credit report, it will stay for six years from the day it is filed unless you manage to pay the full amount within 30 days.
If you do manage to repay the debt associated with your CCJ within 30 days, the CCJ should be removed from your credit file immediately.
Otherwise, the CCJ will be listed against your name for six years, and accessing credit will be more difficult throughout that time.
If you do receive a CCJ, it’s important to understand how long the level of impact it can have on your finances, and work towards rebuilding your credit score to demonstrate you are a reliable borrower.
What happens if you ignore County Court Judgments?
If you ignore a County Court Judgment (CCJ) and fail to make the necessary payments, it won’t simply go away.
The creditor can take further legal action against you and still pursue their claim for the money that’s owed.
This could result in High Court enforcement officers or County Court bailiffs visiting your home in order to seize your possessions. They can then sell those possessions at auction in order to settle the debt.
If you receive a CCJ, it’s important not to ignore it – take action as soon as possible to stop any further bad outcomes.
How can I improve my credit rating after a CCJ?
Below are a few simple steps you can take in order to rebuild your credit profile after receiving a CCJ.
Pay other credit agreements on time
Paying your credit agreements on time and in full is one of the most effective strategies to improve your credit rating, even after getting a County Court Judgment (CCJ).
While you may be inclined to avoid credit altogether, it’s more beneficial to take out a manageable amount of credit – i.e. on a low-interest credit card – and repay what you owe on time and in full.
Check your credit file regularly
It’s important to check your credit report for errors like the wrong address or payment dates, as these can hurt your credit.
Always make sure your details are up-to-date. If you find an error, you can report it to one of the major credit reference agencies and ask that they correct it on your behalf.
Register to vote
If you’re interested in improving your credit rating, you should also look into registering to vote.
Doing so means lenders have an extra way to verify your identity, which helps build trust and shows them you’re financially reliable.
Where can I get help to repay money and get rid of a CCJ?
If you have County Court Judgements against you because you’ve failed to repay your debts on time, it’s likely you could benefit from professional debt help.
At Your Debt Expert, our dedicated team of debt specialists help hundreds of people each week to protect themselves from legal action and deal with their debts for good.
To get more information and advice from a source you can trust, get in touch with an advisor at Your Debt Expert today.