Do you have to declare a CCJ after 6 years?

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Maxine McCreadie


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A county court judgment, or CCJ, is a court order issued in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You may have a CCJ registered against you if you fail to repay money towards your debts.

County court judgments can negatively affect your credit rating and appear on your credit file for six years.

But do you need to declare a CCJ after the six year time limit? Here we discover more about CCJs, including what a county court judgment is, how it can impact your credit rating as well as how long a CCJ stays on your credit report and whether you need to declare a CCJ after six years.

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What is a CCJ?

As previously mentioned, a CCJ is a order issued by a county court.

You may receive a CCJ if you fail to keep up with debt payments and the person or company you owe money to takes legal action.

Raising court action is often a last resort for a creditor or lender if previous enforcement attempts have failed.

If a CCJ is raised against you, it means that the court has formally decided you owe the money in question.

You’ll receive the judgment through the post which will explain:

  • the amount of money owed
  • payment terms (instalments or the full amount)
  • payment deadline
  • who to pay

Judgments orders are kept on record for six years unless the full amount is paid within a calendar month.

If you ignore the CCJ or don’t meet its terms, you could face serious consequences such as further court action to have your belongings repossessed to repay the debt.

It’s also important to be aware that having a CCJ can affect your ability to get further credit in the future.

If you believe that you don’t owe the money you can ask the court to cancel the judgment or have it ‘set aside’. You may have to pay a court fee of £275 and will need to go to a private hearing at the court to explain why you don’t owe the money.

When can creditors apply for a CCJ?

The Limitation Act 1980 determines how long a creditor has to take action against you to recover any debts owed.

This is typically six years. However, it’s important to be aware that once a creditor has a CCJ, the Limitation Act doesn’t put any timeframe on how long they have to enforce the judgment.

If you believe that the CCJ relates to a debt that was accrued more than six years ago you can ask the court to ‘set aside’ using the Limitation Act as a defence.

You should also be aware that if you received your judgment more than six years ago, a creditor must get permission from the court to use any enforcement action.

What is the Register of Judgments Orders and Fines?

County court judgments are typically added to a public database called the Register of Judgments Orders and Fines.

Your CCJ will remain on the public register for six years. It’s important to be aware that anyone can check the Register of Judgment Orders and Fines.

For a small fee the public can see your name, address, the case and court number as well as the amount of money owed.

However, not all judgments are noted on the public register.

If you pay the full amount within one calendar month of the judgment date or if you prove to the court the CCJ was issued in error it won’t go on your record.

How will a CCJ affect your credit report?

If your CCJ is recorded on the Register of Judgments Orders and Fines it will be reported to credit reference agencies and noted on your credit file.

Having a CCJ on your credit report will negatively affect your credit rating, making it harder to borrow money, open a bank account or secure credit in the future, such as a mortgage.

You may also find it difficult to rent a property, or apply for a job that requires a credit search.

If your CCJ isn’t noted on the Register, it won’t appear on your credit report. However, it’s important to remember that any default notice that could have led to your CCJ will be visible which will still impact your score.

How long does a CCJ stay on your credit report?

A CCJ will stay on your credit report for six years.

The six years is a strict time limit and the CCJ will be removed from your credit file after this – regardless of whether you’ve paid back the debt in full or not.

If you’re concerned about how a CCJ is impacting your credit score, you can check with credit reference agencies such as Clear Score, Equifax or Experian.

Can lenders see a CCJ after six years?

A CCJ will be removed from your credit file and the Register of Judgments Orders after six years.

That means that future lenders won’t be able to see it when deciding whether to lend you money.

When the CCJ is removed from your credit file, your score should also improve.

This should make accessing further credit such as loans or credit cards easier as well as general banking – even a bank account will be easier to open once the CCJ has been removed.

Can you have a CCJ removed from your credit report?

You can ask credit reference agencies to remove a CCJ from your credit report. However, you’ll be required to prove the following:

  • You paid the full amount within one month of the judgment date.
  • It’s been six years since you received the CCJ and it should have been automatically removed.
  • You successfully disputed the CCJ with the courts.
  • An insurance company was responsible for the debt.

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Can you change an entry in the Register of Judgments Orders and Fines?

It may be possible to have the entry in the public Register of Judgments Orders and Fines changed before the end of the time limit.

You can do this if you pay the debt off more than a month after the judgment date.

However, to do this you’ll need to provide to the court that you’ve paid and receive a certificate as evidence.

You typically need to pay for the certificate, however, this can be waived or reduced if you’re on a low income.

A record of your payment will me made and a note placed against your entry in the Register to show that the debt has been paid.

At this point, credit reference agencies will be informed of the change. While the CCJ will stay on your credit file until the six years is complete, the record will show that you’ve paid the debts owed.

How can you avoid receiving a CCJ?

The easiest way to avoid receiving a a CCJ is to avoid hiding from debt problems.

If you’ve made late payments or missed payments towards any credit agreements, it’s important to seek professional help.

An expert advisor will be able to review your circumstances and advice on the best solution to manage your debt.

You can also take steps to dealing with late payments or missed payments on your own by contacting creditors directly.

If you opt this this approach it’s important to:

  • Respond to any reply form within the deadlines you’re given
  • Let your creditor know if you need more time to collect essential evidence before the time limit
  • Ensure you complete a financial statement to paint a clear picture of your current circumstances, highlighting how much you can afford to pay towards any debts.

Regardless of which approach you take to dealing with your debts, it’s important to keep communication open with your creditors or the court.

By coming up with a payment plan you can afford you could avoid action by high court enforcement officers or further court action.

What if you can’t pay your CCJ?

If paying your county court judgment (CCJ) proves difficult, it’s important to know what support is available.

The most important thing is to ensure that you respond to the CCJ within the time limit stated.

If you’re a on a low income or unable to pay the CCJ in full you can apply yo repay at a more affordable rate.

You can also apply to change the terms if you’re still worried about paying.

To reduce the amount you’re paying to an affordable amount, you should complete the N245 County Court Judgment form.

This will allow you to inform the court of your affordability, including sharing information about your income, benefits and spending.

What happens if you stop paying the CCJ?

If you fail to manage your CCJ payments, you could face serious consequences.

Your creditor or lender may take further enforcement action. This action could include sending high court enforcement officers, also known as bailiffs, to your current address.

If you’re a homeowner, they may apply for a charging order on your property which will secure the debt against your home and could lead to repossession.

Finally, they can also apply to have the money taken directly from your wages in what is known as an attachment of earnings order.

Where can you find help with dealing with debt?

As previously mentioned, if you’re worried about debt it’s important to know where to turn for support.

No matter whether you’re struggling with debts such as credit card or council tax arrears, help is available.

An advisor could help you reduce what you’re paying to one affordable monthly amount and even write off a percentage of the debt owed.

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