How do I remove a County Court Judgment?
A guide to CCJ removal
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is type of court order that can be made by judges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, if you fail to repay money you owe to another person or company. The CCJ is registered against your name and sets out how much money is owed, how the money should be repaid and the deadline by which payment must be made. If you find yourself in a position where a County Court Judgment is made against you, it will stay on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for a period of 6 years.
It is important to act quickly if you have a CCJ registered against you as creditors (such as banks and loan companies) use this information to determine whether or not to give loans or credit. In extreme circumstances, a CCJ can even prevent you from being employed. You can search the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines to ascertain whether you have any CCJ’s against you at www.trustonline.org.uk/. The search costs (at the time of writing) £4.00. Given the potential damaging consequences of having a CCJ, you should consider taking legal advice as to how to remove it.
There are a number of options available, but not all provide for a complete removal of the CCJ. The option that will be most suitable to you will depend on your individual circumstances, and we recommend you seek independent legal advice. Below is a brief summary:-
1. If you pay the CCJ in full within a month the details of the CCJ will be completely removed from the court register. You should contact the court to inform them that you have paid. You will be required to send the court proof of payment, and pay a £15 fee.
2. By paying the CCJ later than a month, you will receive a certificate of satisfaction but the CCJ will remain on the register. However, the register is marked as “satisfied”, so persons checking the register will see that it has been paid.
3. You can apply for the judgment to be set aside, if the CCJ is a “default judgment”. A default judgment is a judgment made when you (the defendant) fails to acknowledge the claim or put in a defence. In these circumstances, judges have discretion to set aside the CCJ i.e. to declare the judgment as unenforceable.
To successfully set aside a judgment, you must make the application promptly and be able to show that you have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim or, that there is some other good reason why you should be allowed to defend the claim. This could be because, for example, the claim form was sent to the wrong address.
The court can also set a judgment made at a hearing that you did not attend, but only if you can prove that you had good reasons for your non-attendance.
If the judgment is set aside, the CCJ will be removed from register and it will be as though it never existed.
You can wait six years for the CCJ to be automatically cleared from the register. Once it has been removed, it will then be too late for a creditor to enforce the judgment.
4. You can make an application to appeal the CCJ to the next level of judge, where the decision was either:-
a) Wrong in law or fact or in exercise of the judge’s discretion; or
b) Unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity in the original proceedings.
Such an application must normally be made within 21 days of the decision.
We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from our specialist CCJ removal solicitors if you find yourself with a CCJ made against you. Get in touch with the solicitors in the Dispute Resolution team by calling 01202 525333 or send an email enquiry on firstname.lastname@example.org