CCJ is a County Court Judgement and applies in England and Wales only. If you owe someone (either an individual or a company) money and don’t pay them, then they can take you to court. If the court agrees that you owe the money and you do not respond to the legal action, the court will award a CCJ. Never ignore correspondence from the court about a debt; scrubbing a CCJ off your record can be trickier than dealing with it when it first arises.

If a company is awarded a CCJ against you, then you will get a formal notice of judgement in the post. The judgement letter will set out how much has been decided that you owe, how you should pay it, the deadline for making the payment, and who you should make the payment too.

Unless you pay the amount in full within a month, the CCJ will stay on your credit record for six years.

I’ve Been Given a CCJ – What Do I Do Next?

The obvious advice if you are given a CCJ is to pay it in full right away, to avoid it going on your credit record. Make sure you pay in a way where you can prove the payment such as by bank transfer. Never send cash through the post.

It isn’t always possible to pay in full especially when the CCJ involves considerable sums of money. You have the right to ask the court to change the terms of the judgement, by perhaps giving you longer to pay it, or reducing instalments. If you have been asked to pay it in a lump sum, you also have the right to ask to pay in instalments.

You could also ask for the judgement to be formally set aside. This can only be done if you can prove you do not owe the money or did not receive the original paperwork from the court telling you about the claim against you.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay?

If you ignore a CCJ against you, then the individual or organisation might choose to take more enforcement action against you. They might threaten to send bailiffs round to force you to pay or ask the court to force you to pay what you owe.

Courts have a range of powers to force someone to pay a CCJ, and might order a deduction straight from your wages, or freezing of your bank account. They might also ask you to return to court to be questioned about your job and salary to work out what is reasonable to order you to pay.

Credit Ratings and CCJ

County court judgements will stay on your credit record for six years. When you apply for credit such as a personal loan or finance for a new sofa, the banks will search your credit file and the CCJ will show up. If you’re paid in a month, then you can apply to have your CCJ removed. If you pay after this date then you can have the CCJ marked as “satisfied”, but it won’t be removed from the register.

Lenders don’t like to see a CCJ on your credit file, especially one which is not marked as “satisfied”. An unpaid CCJ rings alarm bells as it is proof that you have debt which you have not been able to pay. If you have racked up CCJs in the past, it’s never too late to pay them off and have them marked as satisfied on your account. If you have an old CCJ which is due to drop off your file in the next few months, consider delaying your application until it does so.