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What is a CCJ and how will it affect me?

A County Court Judgment, or CCJ, as it’s known, is a judgment against you for a debt you haven’t paid and stays on the Public Register of Judgements for six years. It doesn’t matter how trivial it seems; it can have a huge impact on your life. It affects your credit score and credit report. This can often include being declined for all forms of credit such as credit cards, mortgages, car finance and it can even stop you from getting a job!

A CCJ can be for a ridiculously small amount of money, you may have incurred a parking charge in a previously owned vehicle registered to an old address. It could be for Service & Maintenance Charges for an address that you don’t live at. Perhaps it is an old Utility Bill for a previous residential or business address? It could be an old mobile phone contract?

The list is endless, but in most cases, you will not have received the Court Claim Form and as such not replied. As such the court will have ruled in absence of a reply from you that you owe the money and issued you with a Default County Court Judgement (CCJ) – and that’s when the CCJ chaos begins…and you find yourself with a big problem…You might not even know there’s is a CCJ against your name until you apply for some type of finance and this happens all the time.  

Many of our clients discover that they have a CCJ when they apply for credit and get declined, others are informed by a mortgage broker or their employer.

You’re notified about your CCJ by post, so if you change address or the court papers go to the wrong address, it’s probably not found you. There are Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) that require the claimant to check that they are dealing with the correct address but in most cases they just use the last known address and the court will issue a default Judgement a CCJ in absence of a reply from you.

And that’s your nightmare.  Because as far as the court knows, you owe money and you’re not paying.  And the details of the CCJ are all about you, and not about the person to whom you allegedly owe the money. So, it’s your problem to sort out and now you have a CCJ recorded against your name on the Public Register of Judgements and this information is reported to the Credit Reference Agencies.

Should I just pay my CCJ?

The answer to this is not straight away. If you pay your default CCJ the court will issue a Certificate of Satisfaction which marks the CCJ as paid BUT the CCJ stays on your credit file or the Public Register of Judgments for 6 years and still has a massive negative effect on your credit file.

It is always wise to call us and allow us to assess your case to see if you have solid legal grounds to have the Judgement removed from the Public Register of Judgements. This will improve your credit score. If the Judgement is merely marked as satisfied then it will stay on the Public Register of Judgements for 6 years and still prevent you from accessing the best deals for Mortgages, Loans, Credit Cards and Car Finance. It may be that you can still get approved but it is likely to be at a higher rate of interest than the best deals available on the market.

Additionally sometimes by paying the Judgement, this can prevent the court from ordering the Judgement to be Set Aside, or Removed as you have accepted the Judgement and paid it.

So how do I remove my CCJ?

We are a specialist service and we can help you to remove your CCJ – if you have legal grounds to do so. The process is very complex and there are several factors involved that can change the approach that you take. The approach taken varies depending on whether you accept the debt. Or do you dispute it? If you received the court papers, or you didn’t.

If you decide to engage our services, we will contact the court and get a copy of the court papers, we will mediate with the claimant and explore if an agreement can be reached for the CCJ to be removed. If this cannot be agreed – or you dispute the debt in its entirety, then we will refer your case to a Barrister for them to draft a legally sound application to the court supported by a detailed witness statement.

The starting point however is to call us for a free assessment of your case so we can establish that your case does meet the relevant sections of law and we can make a legal case to have your CCJ removed.

Can I just do it myself?

The answer is yes you can, but please do not underestimate the complexities of what is involved. The court process is complex and if it is done wrong and the claimant objects to your action, the court can order you to pay the claimants costs if you lose. The court may well explain that it is a straightforward process and all you have to do is fill out a form, but this is far from the truth.  We have dealt with thousands of cases and in each case, there are always issues that need to be addressed with great accuracy to detail and supported with evidence.

It really depends on how important it is to you to resolve this. If the process is done wrong on the first attempt, then it makes it more complicated still for you to remove the Judgement as this may then mean that you need to appeal the courts decision which is far more complicated and far more costly.  The best advice we can give is to get advice, from us or another firm or organisation who is qualified and experienced in this area of the law.

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