Dealing with Debt: Overcoming a Court County Judgement (CCJ)
You may have come across a County Court Judgement in passing, or you may currently have one taken out against you. Whatever knowledge level you have when it comes to CCJ, we want to make sure you have the most up to date and relevant information when dealing with the order. Whether you are on the brink of a CCJ, recovering from one, or trying to avoid having one taken out against you in future, keep reading for our quick breakdown.
What is a CCJ?
A creditor may apply for a CCJ against you if they think you won’t repay money you owe them. A CCJ is a type of court order issued against you to formally instruct you to pay the money back, and will arrive in the post. It is added to a public database - specifically, the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines - which informs lenders that you have been unable to repay a loan you have taken out.
A CCJ, if recorded, will remain on this register for six years - irrespective of whether you have paid off or settled your debt. Although your CCJ may be marked as ‘satisfied’ if you repay your debt prior to the end of this period, it still stays on your record.
How will a CCJ affect my credit score and profile?
- A CCJ decreases your credit score: The average decrease in credit score is around 250 points.
- A CCJ makes it harder to access credit: Lenders will use the information available from your credit profile to figure out if you are ‘creditworthy’, and having a CCJ can send a strong message to creditors that you won’t repay back your debt.
- A CCJ makes may increase your credit interest rates : It is also likely that if you are offered credit, you’ll be charged a higher interest rate as a result.
What to do when you have a CCJ
Pay it off:
You must ensure monthly instalments are made to your creditor, agent or solicitor. Contact details are available on the CCJ document you originally received. It may be worth setting up a standing order if you have a regular source of income and can afford to pay back at the rates specified.
Apply to change payment terms:
If you find that you can’t stick to the payment schedule made by the court there are two possible avenues:
This allows you to ask the court to review the payments you were told to make to the CCJ and change them if they were too high. However, you can only apply for a redetermination if your creditor refuses your initial offer and the court made a determination about the rate of payment. Your application also must be received no later than 16 days from the date of judgement on the CCJ judgement letter.
You can apply for this at any time for a small fee, if your circumstances change and you aren’t able to meet the initial payment agreement. You’ll need to fill in the form N245 Application for suspension and provide details of your income, living costs and debt
Apply to have the CCJ cancelled or ‘set aside’ if it should not have happened: You need evidence that you weren’t aware of the CCJ, or you’d already paid off your debt.
How to rebuild your credit score after CCJ
- Check out our other blogs: We’ve written extensively on ways you can increase your credit score. Have a look at our blog posthere.
- Meet the repayments for your CCJ and all other credit agreements: Making regular payments and eventually paying off your CCJ in a relatively short amount of time looks better to credit lenders than an unsatisfied CCJ.
- Seek professional free guidance: Free guidance can be sought from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which can be found here.