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When you receive a County Court Judgement (CCJ), it means a creditor of yours has applied for a court order to make you repay your debts. Failure to repay this amount before the date specified in the judgement can result in further action from your creditors, and a note on your credit file.
How will I know if I have a CCJ?
With the amount of work required to file one, creditors rarely apply for a CCJ without proper consideration. Your creditor is likely to have requested payment via letters, emails or phone calls before a CCJ is filed.
If a CCJ is filed against you, your creditor should send you a letter of claim, detailing the debt and its amount.
Does a CCJ give me a criminal record?
Although a court issues them, a CCJ isn’t a criminal offence, thus, won’t lead to a criminal record. However, it can lead to creditors instigating more severe action, which could include pursuing legal proceedings. At worst, your creditors could apply to make you bankrupt, which will have a devastating effect on your credit file.
Will a CCJ affect my credit rating?
A CCJ won’t appear on your credit file unless you fail to pay, or ‘satisfy’ the amount within 30 days of the date the judgement was issued. If you don’t pay, the CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years. Having a CCJ can negatively affect your credit file and in-turn, have a detrimental effect on your financial standing. You’ll find it harder to apply for credit, as lenders will see the judgement as an inability to pay what you owe.
Can a CCJ affect my rent or mortgage?
Judgements like a CCJ can affect your credit rating and classify you as a ‘high-risk’ individual, meaning lenders offering loans, credit cards and mortgages will be more wary of signing you up. You’ll find it harder to apply for these, or you may be charged higher interest rates if you are successful.
While employers rarely look at job applicants’ credit history, there are certain industries where they may, as part of a background check. In those circumstances, having any debt or financial judgement on your credit file will likely reduce your chances of getting such a job. Similarly, landlords may turn down applications to rent one of their properties if any CCJs or debt is outstanding on your credit file, or they may charge a higher rate of rent.
What happens if I don’t pay a CCJ?
As a CCJ isn’t technically legal action, it is not a demand for payment. However, if you don’t repay the amount specified within the time limit, decide not to dispute it legally, or ignore it, the creditor can pursue other methods to recover what you owe them.
Creditors may send debt collectors and even High Court Enforcement Officers. Depending on the debt’s nature and their powers, they can seize assets equal to the judgement’s value. Those assets would then be sold to repay the debt.
How do I pay off a CCJ?
Ideally, you would pay off the CCJ as soon as you receive it. You do so by completing the forms attached to the judgement. If issued by Northampton County Court, you’ll have 19 days after the date of issue to return the forms. For any other court, it’s 14 days. Once you’ve returned the forms and the creditor accepts, you can start repaying the amount. The rate of repayments may depend on the creditor, but once the amount is paid off and the debt is settled, no further consequences should follow.
A County Court Judgement will be filed against you to encourage repayment of what you owe. If left unpaid or unchallenged for over a month, the CCJ will have a damaging impact on your credit file. A notice will appear on your file for the following six years, which may affect your ability to apply for credit, loans and mortgages. Your creditors could also send debt collectors or bailiffs to your address to recover the amount if you don’t repay your CCJ. Unless you have a genuine reason to dispute the CCJ, it’s better to pay it off within the first month to avoid any longer-lasting damage.
How we can help
If your creditors have filled a CCJ against you, and either you’re unable to pay, or you feel you don’t owe the amount specified, you should speak to us as soon as possible. Never ignore a CCJ; the damage it could have on your credit file is long-lasting and difficult to remove. Our experienced advisors can advise you on the best course of action. All initial advice is free of charge with no obligation.
Dealing with creditor pressure
When insolvent, it can be difficult to distinguish between what creditor action is reasonable chasings for payment, and what would be classed as harassment. It’s important to understand your own rights as well as your creditors’, and what you can do to buy more time to repay your debt, whether that involves negotiating an informal arrangement with creditors or applying to have a County Court Judgement set aside.
A formal repayment plan; an IVA
If you’re feeling under pressure from your creditors, and you’ve been unable to come to an informal agreement, you can apply for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). These arrangements allow you to repay your personal debts at an affordable rate tailored to your circumstances. An IVA will halt all creditor pressure and can be an alternative to bankruptcy. At the end of the IVA, all remaining unpaid debt will be written off.