A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a kind of court order that is registered in the register of judgments orders against you should you not repay any money that you owe to your creditors.
If you've taken out loans, credit cards or other forms of credit and cannot meet your repayment obligations, action of this nature could be taken against you. If you receive a County Court Judgment, your credit file will show a record of the order. This will remain on your credit report for a certain period of time.
If you've received a County Court Judgment, you'll need to know the answer to the question "how long does a CCJ last?" This is because having county court judgments on your credit report will lower your credit score and impact your ability to get more credit in the future.
So, how long does a CCJ stay on your credit report? Here, we take a closer look at the number of years it takes to remove a CCJ from your credit file and give you advice about the impact having a CCJ on your credit report can have on your financial activities.
In simple terms, you can't get a CCJ removed from your credit report until six years have elapsed from the judgment date. This means that the court order will affect your ability to get credit for those six years. Furthermore, when credit reference agencies check your credit score, they will find that it has been affected by default notices and missed payments issued before you were given the CCJ.
Until you have the CCJ removed from your credit report 6 years after it being issued, you'll find it a lot more difficult to get credit when you need it. You should also be aware that the CCJ will be added to the Public Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines database. The Registry Trust operates this register, and the courts will send them all the details of recently issued CCJs.
During the six years that your CCJ is registered on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, anyone can pay a £4 fee to check the register to find out whether you have any CCJs outstanding. Also, although the general public cannot view your credit file if you attempt to get more credit, any potential creditor or lenders will see you've got a CCJ.
Once six years have elapsed, however, the entry of the CCJ will be removed from the credit file. It will then no longer appear when a creditor or new lenders check your credit score, even if you haven't paid off all your debts by that point.
Although in general a CCJ won't be set aside for 6 years, there is one way you could have the entry of the CCJ judgment removed early.
To do this, you need to pay the full amount of the CCJ within one month of the judgment being passed. If you pay your entire debt in full to the creditor to whom you owe the money, you can then make an application to have your CCJ set aside and the entry taken off your credit file and the public register.
To achieve this, you have to make an application to the County Court hearing centre that issued the CCJ for a "certificate of cancellation" using the N443 claim form, which you can phone to request or download from the internet. You will also need to supply them with proof that you have paid the entire debt you owe in full within one month. These services aren't free - you'll need to pay a fee of £15. If you have a low income, however, it's possible you could submit the claim form for free without needing to pay the fee.
Once you've submitted evidence of your payment of the whole CCJ debt you owed, within a month to the court, they will then get in touch with the Registry Trust. They will then take the CCJ entry off the register as your debt will have been satisfied.
Paying off your CCJ over a month after receiving the judgment won't remove the entry from the public register. It will still appear against your name for the full six-year period. Paying the debt off in full could still be helpful to your credit score though, as you can make an application for a "certificate of satisfaction" using the same process as above, showing that all the payments have been made to cover the entire debt. Although the CCJ will still be on the register, any credit reference company checking will see that you have paid all the outstanding money to the company in question and that your debt has been satisfied. As a result, you may find it simpler to get credit before the six-year period has elapsed from the date of the judgment.
You should never ignore any debt. If you owe money to a company or creditor and cannot make repayments, you need to get advice straight away. If you ignore a CCJ, the company could take more legal action against you. This could result in bailiffs coming to your address to take enforcement action, or you could have an Attachment of Earnings Order issued against you.
Should the company that you owe money to make a court application for bailiffs to collect your debt and permission is granted, a Warrant of Control will be issued. A bailiff can then come to your address to take payment of the outstanding amount or seize possessions that may then be sold to pay off your debts.
Getting advice from an authorised and regulated advisory organisation is therefore important. There are many sources of free advice that you can phone for support. The advice you may be given may include asking the courts to dispute the CCJ or suspend the Warranty of Control and make affordable repayments instead over several months or years. You can then concentrate on rebuilding your credit score and repairing your credit file.