The number of people in their 20s with court orders for unpaid debt has been on the rise over the past year, according to the BBC Radio 4 programme Money Box. Court records from the Registry Trust show over 160,000 County Court Judgments (CCJ) were given in 2019—a 30% hike from the year before. Financial experts attribute the rise in CCJs to increased use of payday loans, zero-hour contracts, unstable loans, increasing rent prices and defaults due to unpaid mobile contracts. Most people don’t realise that mobile contracts are a debt that they can default on. In fact, mobile providers have increased the rate at which they sell this type of debt to credit collectors. The number of people who receive a CCJ for £100-200 of unpaid mobile bills has recently gone up.
If you have been issued a CCJ, it is important to understand how to resolve the matter, the steps you can take to financially rebound after one and how to rebuild your credit score over time.
What is a CCJ?
A CCJ is formally issued by a county court when you fail to repay debts and the creditor has taken court action. You can expect judgments to come in the post and if you receive one, the court has decided that you owe the money. Side note: It’s very important to set up mail redirection with the post every time you move to ensure you are aware of important notices like CCJs.
The judgment will detail:
- How much money you owe
- How to settle your debt (in full or in installments)
- Deadline to pay
- Who to pay
The judgment is public record and submitted to the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines—informing lenders that you are unable to repay a loan you have taken out.
CCJs in the UK
How Long Does a CCJ Last?
A CCJ can remain on your record for up to 6 years from the date of issue unless you pay the full amount owed within one month. A CCJ can adversely affect your ability to obtain credit, employment and a place to live while it is actively on your report.
The good news is the impact of a CCJ on your credit score decreases over time. That means your credit rating is likely to improve as your CCJ ages and as you manage your finances responsibly. Be sure to follow the terms and conditions of your CCJ and all other credit agreements to prevent any default on a payment.
The Difference Between an IVA & CCJ
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is an agreement with your creditors to pay all or a portion of your outstanding debts and is not the same as a CCJ. An IVA is set up by an insolvency practitioner, who will work out a repayment plan and divide the payments amongst all of your creditors. The benefit of an IVA is that it prevents your creditors from taking court action against you for your debts. On the other hand, your insolvency practitioner will charge fees for setting up an IVA. These fees can be high so make sure you know how much you’ll be charged before going ahead with an IVA. Once you are accepted onto an IVA, creditors with a CCJ against you will be unable to take further action for the duration of the IVA.
When you get an IVA, any CCJs your creditors have against you is cancelled. Terms and conditions of repayment will then be included in your IVA and you will not need to make payments towards the CCJ.