Mrs Clark, Exeter
“Thank you for all of the time and expertise you have shown me. I have recommended you to my friends.”
To protect the client’s confidentiality, names have been changed, and actors’ photographs have been used.
Around 1665 CCJs are registered every day and in England & Wales with the majority are granted automatically as the defendant did not attend court. Many people are confused by the whole process and do not understand the complicated paper work they are sent.
Others just hope the problem will go away and ignore the warnings they receive. Once a CCJ is declared it remains on a credit file for six years and can be very damaging. With the stricter lending criteria used by the banks since the credit crunch began obtaining a credit card or mortgage in the future will be very difficult with a CCJ.
In the past sub-prime lenders have filled this gap but this market is disappearing fast and even if credit can still be found the rates are now incredibly high.
Avoiding a CCJ
By the time a court summons is received it is likely that the debt collection process has been going on for many months and that dozens of letters have been sent. It is important to remember that creditors do not want to take people to court (when their legal costs are considered it is often not a cost effective approach) but if a debtor refuses to co-operate or reply to their letters they feel they have no other option and need to make a stand.
Whilst it is never easy dealing with debt collectors (see our bailiffs page) we would always recommend discussing the situation with them as soon as possible. Most are approachable and willing to compromise if a reasonable offer of payment is made. Even a token payment of £2 a week could stop further action and avoid a CCJ being pursued.
At Liberty we always encourage people to talk to their lenders but understand that sometimes this can be more difficult than it sounds. As such why not complete out 60 second debt test below and get the help and support you need.
Removing a CCJ
There are lots of companies out there that claim they can remove a CCJ and repair your credit file. These companies often make promises they cannot deliver and demand large up front payments regardless of the results. Whilst it is possible to get a CCJ removed in truth it is difficult and for most this will not be an option.
The only way to remove a CCJ completely is to prove it was registered in error. If you have a genuine case then you should send form N244 to the county court to explain why it should be set aside. If the court agrees that the CCJ is invalid then they will remove it from the Register of County Court Judgements.
This is a public register where the credit reference agencies obtain their information. As it can take some time for these agencies to pick up on the amendments you are better writing to them (the main ones are Experian & Equifax ) to ask them to remove the record from your file immediately.
This will speed the process up and allow you to obtain credit quicker.
Some of the reasons why a CCJ will be set aside by the court are as follows:
- Settled within 28 days. If you can pay off the CCJ within 28 days of receiving the judgement then the court will normally remove it completely.
- Identity fraud. If the credit was taken out without your knowledge then you can ask for it to be set aside.
- You were not informed of the court case or given sufficient time to respond. It is up to the plaintiff to send the paperwork to the correct address (usually by recorded delivery to prove this) and you should be given at least 21 days to respond.
- Unable to attend court. If you were out of the country or seriously ill then you would have a good case.
- You did not receive a default notice from the creditor before the court summons. The plaintiff must follow the correct procedure and any oversight on their part could mean the judgement is invalid.
The plaintiff or creditor must follow a strict set of rules to make the CCJ legal. This is obviously a complicated area but by completing our free 60 second debt test this can all be checked for you!
Settling a CCJ
If you don’t have a strong case to have the CCJ removed then it is important not to send off form N244 to the courts as this will be viewed as wasting court time and can result in serious penalties. For most settling a CCJ is the best way forward and it can be an effective way of reducing the negative effects and improving a credit rating. At Liberty we specialise in satisfying CCJs and can negotiate a favourable settlement for you.
Because the account is classed as a bad debt (and been effectively written off by the creditor) this puts us in a strong negotiating position and we can often settle the debt for a much lower amount. In exchange the creditor will then agree that any outstanding balance will be written off.
Once an agreement is in place we will then obtain written confirmation from the creditor that the debt has been fully settled and that they agree that the CCJ should be listed as such on the Register of County Court Judgements.
Once a certificate of satisfaction is received from the court (this costs £10) then again the credit reference agencies will be contacted to ensure that their records are updated properly and quickly.
A settled CCJ is viewed far more favourably by underwriters and demonstrates that you are responsible and committed to paying back your debts.
If you have a CCJ or have been threatened with one then don’t delay, complete our free 60 second debt test and get the advice you need.
Can We Clear Your CCJs?