What is a County Court Judgment?
You may get a county court judgment (CCJ) (or high court judgment) if someone takes court action against you (saying you owe them money) and you do not respond.
You must respond to the court claim by the date on the email or letter you receive. The judgment will come in the post and will explain:
- how much you owe
- how to pay (in full or in instalments)
- the deadline for paying
- who to pay
If you get a judgment, this means that the court has formally decided that you owe the money.
Where can I see a record of the CCJ?
Since 2006 all county court and high court judgments can be registered in the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines. You can search for details of any judgments against you on the register of judgments.
You’ll have to pay a small fee – each search costs between £6 and £10.
The register can be accessed by anyone via the Registry Trust Limited website, where you can search for the details of other people or check your own record of CCJs. The type of people that might want to search the register include landlords, who want to check that a prospective tenant does not have a history of not paying back their debts.
It could also be used in a business setting, if a company is hiring a new employee they might use the register for research or they might want to check out the financial record of a new supplier or customer.
What details are included in a registered judgment?
The courts send details of eligible judgments for registration to Registry Trust Limited, which maintains the Register of Judgments. Details on judgments include:
- the full name of the judgment debtor (the person who owes money)
- the judgment debtor’s address
- the judgment debtor’s date of birth (if known)
- the date of the judgment debt
- the amount of the judgment debt
- the court’s name
- the claim number
What happens after the CCJ has been issued?
If you don’t stick to the terms of the arrangement, the creditor may ask the court to take further action. These may include:
Warrant of Execution – This is where the creditor asks the court to send bailiffs to collect the money owed or any goods that could potentially be sold to clear the amount owed. The court will issue the Warrant, however, you can appeal it to stop the Warrant being issued to allow you to repay the debt.
Attachment of Earnings – The creditor may ask for money to be taken directly from your wages to repay the debt.
Charging Order – The debt may be secured against your property, which they could seize if too many repayments are missed.
What are the effects of a judgment being registered?
Records of judgments are kept for 6 years unless you pay the full amount within a month.
The Registry of Judgments is routinely searched by credit reference agencies and financial institutions. They do so in order to keep their records up to date and to enable them to take the information into consideration if they are approached by the judgment debtor for credit.
This means that a registered judgment will affect an individual’s credit rating. In certain cases, it may also affect an individual’s employment prospects.
Will a CCJ affect a mortgage application?
Many mortgage lenders will reject your mortgage application outright if you have a CCJ. As a result, those who have had them may find it extremely difficult to find a mortgage.
What happens if you pay a judgment which can be registered?
If the judgment debt is paid in full within one calendar month of the judgment date, the entry at the Register of Judgments can be cancelled and removed from the Registry and the judgment debtor can apply for a certificate of cancellation. A certificate can also be obtained if a judgment is set aside.
If a judgment is paid in full, but more than one month after the judgment date, the judgment can be marked on the Register as satisfied. However, it will remain on the Register for six years from the date of judgment.
It is important to note that even after the six-year period, although the judgment may drop off the Register, the judgment itself does not simply disappear and can still be enforced by the judgment creditor.
Can a judgment debt be cancelled or removed from the register?
A judgment debt can only be cancelled if it has been satisfied, set aside, or reversed, and this will require the court to send a request to the Register to cancel the entry.
A CCJ can have a lasting impact not least on your credit file. Failing to repay your outstanding debts can lead to attachment of earnings or even bailiff action to recover the debt owed. If you find out that you have a judgment registered against you it is important that you do something immediately and you should also seek professional debt advice.