How will a county-court judgment (CCJ) affect my credit rating?

October 1, 2017

When a county court judgment is made against you, details appear on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines – a public register run by the Registry Trust. As well as your name, address, case number and name of the court, the Northern Ireland Register contains the judgment amount and date, as well as details of when the CCJ is ‘satisfied,’ or paid off.

Lenders use the registry information as a basis for their lending decisions when an application for borrowing is made, primarily judging whether or not you represent a risk to them of non-payment.

If you don’t pay the county court judgment

If you can’t repay in full when you receive a county court judgment, you may be able to pay in instalments. Failing to pay back any money, or ignoring the CCJ, is likely to result in your creditor taking enforcement action to recover their debt.

When a CCJ is noted on your credit file, it has a significant negative effect on your credit rating. It will severely hamper any attempts to obtain a mortgage, borrowing or other forms of credit in the foreseeable future, even in relation to smaller items such as mobile phone or broadband contracts.

How long does a CCJ last?

Unless you repay the full amount of debt within one month, the county court judgment will remain on your credit file for six years from the judgment date. During this time it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to borrow, and even after six years has passed you may encounter problems when applying for credit.

It’s a good idea to check your credit file regularly, to ensure the information held about you is correct, but the three main credit reference agencies in the UK – Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit – each hold different types of information. For a small fee, you can obtain a copy of your credit record from each agency.

The effect of a CCJ on your credit rating

A county court judgment has a far-reaching effect on your credit rating, potentially restricting your ability to borrow for many years. This can affect various aspects of your life, from being able to take advantage of 0% interest credit card deals, to buying your own home.

If you apply for a mortgage, for example, you may only have access to a limited number of deals due to the CCJ, or be required to pay a much higher interest rate than someone with a higher credit score.

So is it possible to clear a CCJ from your credit record?

Removing a CCJ from your credit file

The only way to have a CCJ removed from your credit file is to pay the debt in full within one month of the judgment date. It’s also possible to have the CCJ ‘set aside’ if you disagree with the judgment, but this must be a genuine disagreement if you’re not to face serious legal repercussions.

Once the judgment has been paid in full, it should be marked on your credit file as ‘satisfied.’ This allows lenders to see that you’ve paid your debt, so it’s worthwhile checking that the register has been updated.

Northern Ireland Debt Solutions can help if you require professional advice on a county court judgment. We’ll let you know your options for repayment, and the possible effect on your financial situation in the long-term. Call our expert team for a free same-day consultation.

Lawrence O'Hara

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 028 2132 6269

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