If you’re struggling with debt and have failed to repay a creditor, their are various ways creditors can force you to pay the full amount owed, including including going to the court and having a County Court Judgement taken out against you.
The best-case scenario is to have your CCJ discharged. In this guide, we’ll explore what that means, how long the process takes, and how it can impact your credit file.
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A County Court Judgement is a court order that can be deployed by the courts in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The main purpose of a CCJ is as a means of forcing an individual to repay money they owe. If you are in debt and have failed to settle those debts – or the parties you owe money to think you’re unlikely to pay – a CCJ might be taken against you as a way of forcing your hand.
The CCJ will usually be brought against you by one of your creditors (the people you owe money to), who will send an application to the courts laying out the reasons why they believe the CCJ is necessary.
You can find out if you have a CCJ here
CCJs are list on a public database called the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines. Because it’s a public register, anyone who requests access will be able to see the details of your CCJ for a small fee. The information they will be able to view includes:
In reality, the only people likely to see your CCJ are lenders (when you apply for credit), letting agencies (if you are looking to rent a home), or certain employers – particularly if they are involved in financial services.
It’s important to remember that a CCJ will have a negative impact on your credit rating, so actions like getting a loan, applying for a credit card, or even opening a bank account will become more difficult.
Having your County Court Judgment discharged means you no longer have a judgement against you – in other words, you have paid back your debt in full and are free of your obligations to the lenders in question.
You have to repay the full amount within one calendar month of the judgment being lodged in order to successfully discharge your debt.
After you pay, you’ll need to supply the court with evidence that you’ve settled your debts before the one month cut-off date. The court can then contact the Registry Trust to have the discharged debt from your record.
If you can’t afford to pay the full amount within a month, you can still settle your CCJ at a later date. As long as you repay the lender in full, your CCJ will be marked as ‘satisfied’, although it won’t be removed automatically from your record and will remain on your credit file.
In normal circumstances, a CCJ will be listed on your credit report for a period of six years. As your credit report is a public document, any lender running a credit check on you will be able to contact the credit reference agencies and see details of your CCJ.
Because having a CCJ against you suggests you have a poor credit record and a history of failing to repay your debt, it can make it more difficult for you to do things like open certain bank accounts, be accepted for a mortgage on a property, or take out a loan.
There’s also a strong link between your credit report and your credit score – a number that lenders use to gauge your creditworthiness. Having a CCJ is likely to significantly lower your credit score, once again making it harder for you to access future credit.
As previously mentioned, as long as you make any payments towards the debt included in your CCJ within one month, you will get the CCJ discharged.
A discharged CCJ will be automatically removed from the public register, and you can apply to have it removed from your credit record. This is done by applying for a ‘Certificate of satisfaction’ from your county court.
You’ll need an N443 claim form, which you can download for free here on the Government website. Once you send the form away and the court has proof of the discharge, the court will have the County Court Judgment (CCJ) removed from the public record and your credit file, although the best advice is to give the credit reference agencies time to update your details.
If you don’t have the income to repay lenders you owe money to, or you’re struggling with debt to multiple people or companies, you may face the threat of a creditor taking a CCJ against you.
Luckily, there is support available for people in your position. IVA Plan is a debt management company that specialises in free debt advice and guidance for people with money trouble. We’re a team of industry experts, and we have in-depth knowledge of issues from CCJs to bankruptcy.
To find out more about what we do and how you can get free debt advice, visit the IVA Plan website and get in touch with one of our friendly money advisers today.