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A County Court Judgment, often known simply as a CCJ, is a court’s adjudication that having weighed up the facts, a debt is due.
To obtain a CCJ, a lender has first to issue a Notice of Default, you have to ignore it (or give a response to it that the lender isn't happy with), the lender must then ask the Court to issue a County Court Summons for you to attend court, and either you fail to turn up at court, or lose the case if you do attend.
A County Court Judgment remains on your credit report for 6 years, irrespective of whether you subsequently pay off the debt, unless this is done within one calendar month of the date of the County Court Judgment and the Court's procedures regarding the filing of an acknowledgement from the lender are followed to he letter.
A County Court Judgment is one of several types of adverse credit record and will severely impact negatively on credit scores, credit ratings and therefore on the ability to get credit. In short, if a lender sees evidence that another lender has had to resort to the costs of getting a CCJ to recover monies due, it will be dissuaded from lending more for fear of having to go down the same road.
If you pay the full amount outstanding immediately on receipt of the County Court Summons, you can avoid a hearing or judgment. If not, there'll be a simple court hearing in private. You can attend if you wish, or just send the information the court asks for by post.
The court doesn't find anyone 'guilty' or 'innocent'. It looks at the facts and decides whether you owe any money, and if so, how you should repay it. If the court decides you owe money and you don’t pay, lenders can take further legal steps to get their money, such as sending bailiffs around to take your possessions.
Under Scottish law claims are dealt with differently, by the Sheriff Court.
If you pay off a CCJ within one calendar month of issue and inform the courts as mentioned above, then the CCJ is immediately removed from your credit report, but not otherwise. If it is not paid off within this period then it will stay on your credit report for 6 years from the issue date whether paid in full or not.
A CCJ is labelled as 'active' on your credit report if you have not paid off the monies owed or 'settled' if you have done so.
If you have paid off your CCJ it is usually down to you to inform the credit reference agencies, Callcredit, Equifax and Experian with a 'Letter of Satisfaction', which you can get from the Court, so the CCJ can then be shown as settled on your credit report.
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to have a County Court Judgment removed from your credit report - and you will have trouble getting credit on the high street until the CCJ drops off your credit report - it has a great impact on your credit score.
We would strongly recommend against any offers of credit repair that some companies may present to you - this is illegal and generally only makes things worse for yourself.
If you believe your CCJ to be settled or issued against you wrongly then you should contact the court with your case number and they can advise you further.