A County Court Judgment, or simply a CCJ, is a court's adjudication that, having weighed up the facts, a debt is due.
To obtain a CCJ, a lender first has to issue a Notice of Default. You then either have to ignore it or give a response that the lender isn`t happy with. Following this, the lender must then ask the Court to issue a County Court Summons for you to attend court. Next, you either fail to turn up at court, or lose the case if you do attend.
A County Court Judgment remains on your credit report for 6 years, irrespective of whether you subsequently pay off the debt. If, however, this is done within one calendar month of the date of the County Court Judgment and the Court`s procedures regarding the filing of an acknowledgement from the lender are followed to the letter you will avoid being penalised.
A County Court Judgment is one of several types of adverse credit record and will have a severe, negative impact on credit scores and credit ratings. Therefore, your ability to get credit will also be affected. In short, if a lender sees evidence that another lender has had to resort to the costs of getting a CCJ to recover monies, it will be dissuaded from lending more for fear of having to go down the same road.
You can avoid a hearing or judgment by paying the full amount outstanding as soon as you receive the County Court Summons. If not, there`ll be a simple court hearing in private. You can attend if you wish, or just send the information the court asks for by post.
The court doesn`t find anyone `guilty` or `innocent`. Instead, it looks at the facts and decides whether you owe any money, and if so, how you should repay it. If the court decides you owe money and you don't pay, lenders can take further legal steps to get their money. One such way they can do this is by sending bailiffs to take your possessions.
Contrastingly, under Scottish law, claims are dealt with by the Sheriff Court.
If you pay off a CCJ within one calendar month of issue and inform the courts, as mentioned above, then the CCJ is immediately removed from your credit report. If it is not paid off within this period then it will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the issue date, irrespective of whether you pay in full or not.
A CCJ is labelled as `active` on your credit report if you have not paid off the monies owed. If you do, it's labelled as `settled'.
If you have paid off your CCJ it is usually down to you to inform all four credit reference agencies with a `Letter of Satisfaction`, which you can get from the Court, so the CCJ can then be shown as settled on your credit report.
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to have a County Court Judgment removed from your credit report. As such, you will have trouble getting credit on the high street until the CCJ drops from your credit report - it has a pronounced impact on your credit score.
We would strongly recommend against any offers of credit repair - this is illegal and generally only makes things worse.
If you believe your CCJ to be settled or issued against you wrongly then you should contact the court with your case number and they can advise you further.