What is a County Court Judgement (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgement is a court order issued in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that occurs when you fail to repay debts and the creditor has taken legal action. If you have bills that remain unpaid, your account may go into default and thereafter you can probably expect to receive a CCJ at some point. In fact, CCJ’s have become more common for smaller amounts – this means that you could get one for something as small as failing to pay your mobile bill.
CCJ’s are typically sent via the post and if you receive one, the court has decided that you owe the money. It is very important not to ignore a CCJ and also make sure 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.
Note: In Scotland, the CCJ process differs and is called ‘enforcing debt by diligence.’
How Long Does a CCJ Stay on your Credit File?
A CCJ stays on your credit file for up to 6 years from the date it was issued. If you are able to repay the full amount straightaway (within a few days of the issue date), you may be able to have it removed from your record. Once a CCJ is formally added to your record, it will stay on your file for 6 years even if you fully repay the amount during that time. Unfortunately, a CCJ can hurt your chances to get credit, employment or even a place to live while it is actively on your report.
One positive thing to note is that the negative impact caused by a CCJ goes down over time. This means that a CCJ on your credit file from a mistake 4 years ago is less likely to cause issues than a brand new one; especially if you have shown responsible financial behaviour since then. As time goes on, your credit should improve from the damage caused by a CCJ as long as you follow the terms and conditions of your CCJ and all other credit agreements to prevent any default on a payment.
Can I Take Further Action After I Repay a CCJ?
The truth is that it can be difficult to remove a CCJ from your credit file once one has been added, even once you fully repay the amount. It may be worth taking the proper steps to have it removed if you believe you can make a good case. Read: How to Remove a CCJ From Your Records for a step-by-step guide on removing a CCJ.
One other option to consider is adding a notice of correction to your file. A notice of correction offers you an opportunity to add an explanation to individual items on your credit file. For example, if you got a CCJ for failing to pay your mobile phone bill because you were ill in the hospital, you could add a notice of correction explaining this. A notice of correction will not improve your credit score but lenders will be able to read it when making a decision to lend to you or not.
Portify – the UK credit builder app
The best way to give your credit score a lift is by showing good behaviour like regular on-time bill repayments. Portify is a community helping the hardest workers build their credit score by reporting good financial behaviours to all of the major UK Credit Agencies.
It’s important to note Portify can’t help people that have had a CCJ, IVA or bankruptcy event in the past 12 months.
As always, please make sure that Portify is right for you before signing up. If you haven’t had a CCJ on your credit file for at least 12 months, you may be eligible to begin boosting your credit score with Portify. Credit building takes time and might not be right for you, check out our website before you sign up!