Your Money

What is a CCJ?

Emma Hayzen-Smith, Legal Services Manager
Tuesday, 13 September 2022

In England and Wales, a CCJ, also known as a County Court Judgment, is a type of court order.

In this article we’ll look to explain what one is, why it matters to you and how it could affect your ability to get credit.

All the information in the article is based off the laws in England and Wales, as the laws differ in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In England and Wales, a CCJ, also known as a County Court Judgment, is a type of court order.

In this article we’ll look to explain what one is, why it matters to you and how it could affect your ability to get credit.

All the information in the article is based off the laws in England and Wales, as the laws differ in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

CCJ meaning

What is a CCJ? It’s a court judgment that is registered against you when you owe money that you’ve failed to repay, despite the creditor trying to get in touch. Credit reference agencies also use this register to understand the credit worthiness of individuals, which can make it difficult to get car finance with a CCJ.

Is a default a CCJ? No, they are not the same thing. Most creditors, the company/person you owe money to, will default your agreement if you miss 3 or more payments in a row. Do not ignore a default notice, as you only have 14 days before the creditor can take legal action. Get in touch with your lender to explain your situation straight away. This could avoid you receiving a CCJ.

Most importantly, don’t worry about getting a CCJ unnecessarily, as they don’t just come out of nowhere. Your creditor must follow a legal process before you end up with a CCJ as laid out below:

CCJ meaning

What is a CCJ? It’s a court judgment that is registered against you when you owe money that you’ve failed to repay, despite the creditor trying to get in touch. Credit reference agencies also use this register to understand the credit worthiness of individuals, which can make it difficult to get car finance with a CCJ.

Is a default a CCJ? No, they are not the same thing. Most creditors, the company/person you owe money to, will default your agreement if you miss 3 or more payments in a row. Do not ignore a default notice, as you only have 14 days before the creditor can take legal action. Get in touch with your lender to explain your situation straight away. This could avoid you receiving a CCJ.

Most importantly, don’t worry about getting a CCJ unnecessarily, as they don’t just come out of nowhere. Your creditor must follow a legal process before you end up with a CCJ as laid out below:

County court judgment process

County court judgment process

Defending a claim can be complex and you may need to provide more information. We would always suggest you get professional debt advice before disputing a CCJ.

For further advice on filling out the forms, StepChange offers a helpful video taking you through the process step-by-step.

Defending a claim can be complex and you may need to provide more information. We would always suggest you get professional debt advice before disputing a CCJ.

For further advice on filling out the forms, StepChange offers a helpful video taking you through the process step-by-step.

How long does a CCJ last?

A CCJ stays on the register and therefore your credit file for 6 years, which can make it difficult to get credit during this period. However, if you pay the CCJ in full within 1 calendar month of it being issued, then it won’t be recorded.

If you decide to dispute the CCJ and the courts agree that it was issued in error then the CCJ could be cancelled or ‘set aside’, which means it won’t be recorded on the register and shouldn’t show on your credit file. But if you defaulted on a credit agreement which led you to nearly receiving a CCJ, then this will show on your credit file.

How long does a CCJ last?

A CCJ stays on the register and therefore your credit file for 6 years, which can make it difficult to get credit during this period. However, if you pay the CCJ in full within 1 calendar month of it being issued, then it won’t be recorded.

If you decide to dispute the CCJ and the courts agree that it was issued in error then the CCJ could be cancelled or ‘set aside’, which means it won’t be recorded on the register and shouldn’t show on your credit file. But if you defaulted on a credit agreement which led you to nearly receiving a CCJ, then this will show on your credit file.

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

Ignoring a CCJ won’t make it go away, and it will still be registered with the courts and on your credit file for 6 years from the date it was issued. If you ignore the CCJ and don’t fill out the forms, then you will lose your right to challenge it or to break your debt down into affordable payments. If you completely ignore the county court claim forms, or just don’t pay your debt back, then further action can be taken to recover the money from you. This could include using bailiffs or even taking instalments directly from your wages if you’re working.

Ignoring a CCJ will affect your credit score and make it more difficult to get finance for the 6 years it shows on your credit file.

A lady ignoring the situation

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

Ignoring a CCJ won’t make it go away, and it will still be registered with the courts and on your credit file for 6 years from the date it was issued. If you ignore the CCJ and don’t fill out the forms, then you will lose your right to challenge it or to break your debt down into affordable payments. If you completely ignore the county court claim forms, or just don’t pay your debt back, then further action can be taken to recover the money from you. This could include using bailiffs or even taking instalments directly from your wages if you’re working.

Ignoring a CCJ will affect your credit score and make it more difficult to get finance for the 6 years it shows on your credit file.

A lady ignoring the situation

How long do you have to pay a CCJ?

When completing the N9A form there is a section titled ‘Offer of payment’, within here you can either give a date that you wish to pay it in full or select ‘I can pay by monthly instalments’.

If you select to pay it in full, it’s advised that you pay it within 30 days of the CCJ being issued. This means it won’t show on your credit file. If you decide to pay in full after the 30 days then it will still show on your credit file for 6 years, but just appear as ‘satisfied’, which will be visible to creditors, and will still affect your credit score.

If you can only pay in monthly instalments, then really consider how much you can afford to pay back a month. When you send the form back to the creditor, with your offer of payment, they will need to deem it as ‘reasonable’ to accept it. If they accept your offer of payment, then the time in which you have to pay it will be dictated by how much you are paying back a month. You will need to continue to pay it back monthly until all your debt is paid off.

Once the amount is paid off in full the CCJ marker on the register will change to ‘satisfied’ but will still remain on your credit file for 6 years unless paid off in full in the first 30 days after it was issued. However, if you have a CCJ on your credit file, there are still ways you can improve your credit score.

How long do you have to pay a CCJ?

When completing the N9A form there is a section titled ‘Offer of payment’, within here you can either give a date that you wish to pay it in full or select ‘I can pay by monthly instalments’.

If you select to pay it in full, it’s advised that you pay it within 30 days of the CCJ being issued. This means it won’t show on your credit file. If you decide to pay in full after the 30 days then it will still show on your credit file for 6 years, but just appear as ‘satisfied’, which will be visible to creditors, and will still affect your credit score.

If you can only pay in monthly instalments, then really consider how much you can afford to pay back a month. When you send the form back to the creditor, with your offer of payment, they will need to deem it as ‘reasonable’ to accept it. If they accept your offer of payment, then the time in which you have to pay it will be dictated by how much you are paying back a month. You will need to continue to pay it back monthly until all your debt is paid off.

Once the amount is paid off in full the CCJ marker on the register will change to ‘satisfied’ but will still remain on your credit file for 6 years unless paid off in full in the first 30 days after it was issued. However, if you have a CCJ on your credit file, there are still ways you can improve your credit score.

How long do CCJs last if unpaid?

A CCJ will last 6 years if unpaid. If you ignore, or don’t pay back your CCJ, then the creditor can take further action to get the money back from you within these 6 years. However, if the creditor decides to take action after the 6 years has past, then they will need to get permission from the court again to enforce action.

How long do CCJs last if unpaid?

A CCJ will last 6 years if unpaid. If you ignore, or don’t pay back your CCJ, then the creditor can take further action to get the money back from you within these 6 years. However, if the creditor decides to take action after the 6 years has past, then they will need to get permission from the court again to enforce action.

Do I have a CCJ against me?

If you want to know how to check a CCJ, then you will need to pay a small fee to get a report. You can do this through Trust Online where you can check a single person or multiple people. To check just one person on the registers held in England and Wales it will cost £6, to check multiple then it will cost £8, and £10 if you want to check other registers in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Jersey.

These reports will show you the court names that made the judgment, the case number, and the amount owed. It will not show you who you owe money to. To find this out, you will need to speak to the relevant court.

As CCJ’s will stay on the record for 6 years, the report will also show any satisfied (paid) CCJ’s as well as any unsatisfied (not paid yet). You can see an example of what the report would show below: 

Do I have a CCJ against me?

If you want to know how to check a CCJ, then you will need to pay a small fee to get a report. You can do this through Trust Online where you can check a single person or multiple people. To check just one person on the registers held in England and Wales it will cost £6, to check multiple then it will cost £8, and £10 if you want to check other registers in Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Jersey.

These reports will show you the court names that made the judgment, the case number, and the amount owed. It will not show you who you owe money to. To find this out, you will need to speak to the relevant court.

As CCJ’s will stay on the record for 6 years, the report will also show any satisfied (paid) CCJ’s as well as any unsatisfied (not paid yet). You can see an example of what the report would show below: 

unsatisfied report for CCJ

(Source: Trust Online)

unsatisfied report for CCJ

(Source: Trust Online)

How do i find out what my CCJ is for?

You can find out what your CCJ is for by speaking to the court that made the judgment against you. If you don’t know which court gave you the CCJ then you will need to check the England and Wales County Court Judgment register, which you can do for a small fee on Trust Online. This report will give you the name of the court that made the judgment against you so that you can contact them for more information on the creditor and what your CCJ is for.

How do i find out what my CCJ is for?

You can find out what your CCJ is for by speaking to the court that made the judgment against you. If you don’t know which court gave you the CCJ then you will need to check the England and Wales County Court Judgment register, which you can do for a small fee on Trust Online. This report will give you the name of the court that made the judgment against you so that you can contact them for more information on the creditor and what your CCJ is for.

I have a CCJ but don’t know who from?

Similarly, to finding out what the CCJ is for, finding out who your CCJ is with is done in the same way. You can contact the court who made the judgment against you to find out. You should have received information in the post, but if you haven’t, then use Trust Online to search the register in your name. From this you will be able to see which court made the judgment against you, so that you can contact them to find out more information on who the CCJ is from, and who you owe money to.

I have a CCJ but don’t know who from?

Similarly, to finding out what the CCJ is for, finding out who your CCJ is with is done in the same way. You can contact the court who made the judgment against you to find out. You should have received information in the post, but if you haven’t, then use Trust Online to search the register in your name. From this you will be able to see which court made the judgment against you, so that you can contact them to find out more information on who the CCJ is from, and who you owe money to.

County court judgment without my knowledge

If a creditor is trying to get you to pay money owed, then they will firstly send you a default notice. If you ignore this, then they will be able to proceed with getting a CCJ against you. If this happens, then there is a formal process that the creditor and court must follow which you can find laid out above in this article.

If you never received any of this information and are not aware of any CCJ registered against you, then the correct process may not have been followed. If this is the case, then you might be able to get the CCJ set aside.

A man confused

County court judgment without my knowledge

If a creditor is trying to get you to pay money owed, then they will firstly send you a default notice. If you ignore this, then they will be able to proceed with getting a CCJ against you. If this happens, then there is a formal process that the creditor and court must follow which you can find laid out above in this article.

If you never received any of this information and are not aware of any CCJ registered against you, then the correct process may not have been followed. If this is the case, then you might be able to get the CCJ set aside.

A man confused

How to pay a CCJ

If you do formally get a CCJ then this means that the court have decided that you owe money to the creditor in question. You will receive the CCJ in the post and it will explain the following:

  • How much you owe
  • How to pay (in full or in instalments)
  • The deadline for paying
  • Who to pay

(Source: gov.uk)

The judgment form will tell you who to pay, how to pay and by when. You will be asked to pay the person or business you owe the money to, or their solicitor. All the information will be on the judgment form. Whatever you do, do not pay the court.

When you do pay, make sure you keep a record of the payments and that you pay on time.

How to pay a CCJ

If you do formally get a CCJ then this means that the court have decided that you owe money to the creditor in question. You will receive the CCJ in the post and it will explain the following:

  • How much you owe
  • How to pay (in full or in instalments)
  • The deadline for paying
  • Who to pay

(Source: gov.uk)

The judgment form will tell you who to pay, how to pay and by when. You will be asked to pay the person or business you owe the money to, or their solicitor. All the information will be on the judgment form. Whatever you do, do not pay the court.

When you do pay, make sure you keep a record of the payments and that you pay on time.

How to pay a CCJ with no paperwork

If you haven’t received paperwork and are wondering ‘how do I pay off an old CCJ’ as you’ve just discovered one in your name, then there are probably a couple of reasons this may have happened. Some of the reasons and what you can do are below:

How to pay a CCJ with no paperwork

If you haven’t received paperwork and are wondering ‘how do I pay off an old CCJ’ as you’ve just discovered one in your name, then there are probably a couple of reasons this may have happened. Some of the reasons and what you can do are below:

If you’ve moved address and not told your creditors

If this is you, then you need to get in touch with the court who gave the judgment. For a small fee you can run a report with Trust Online to find out which court you need to speak to. Explain the situation and offer to pay what you can, either in full or in instalments to clear the debt.

If you’ve moved address and not told your creditors

If this is you, then you need to get in touch with the court who gave the judgment. For a small fee you can run a report with Trust Online to find out which court you need to speak to. Explain the situation and offer to pay what you can, either in full or in instalments to clear the debt.

If you were away from home and didn’t receive the original papers in time

If this applies to you, then you have a valid reason as to why you didn’t return the court papers in time. Get in touch with the court as soon as possible, explain your situation and offer to pay straight away either in instalments or in full. This will prevent the creditors taking further action such as involving bailiffs. 

If you were away from home and didn’t receive the original papers in time

If this applies to you, then you have a valid reason as to why you didn’t return the court papers in time. Get in touch with the court as soon as possible, explain your situation and offer to pay straight away either in instalments or in full. This will prevent the creditors taking further action such as involving bailiffs. 

How to get a CCJ set aside

Getting a CCJ set aside, is more simply how to get rid of a CCJ and is a way of cancelling the judgment or getting it wiped from the record. You can apply to get the CCJ set aside by filing out the form N244. You should receive this with your original forms as a way of letting you dispute it. You then send this back to the court. If you don’t have a copy of the N244 then you can download it here.

There are several acceptable reasons to get the CCJ set aside:

  • The order was made against you in your absence (in certain circumstances)
  • There may have been an incorrect judgment
  • You want to put a defence in and did not have the opportunity
  • The process did not follow the court rules.

If you dispute the CCJ then you may have to pay a court fee of £275 as well as go to a private hearing at the court to explain why you don’t owe the creditor money. The gov.uk website is full of guidance and details the steps to follow if you want to set aside a CCJ.

How to get a CCJ set aside

Getting a CCJ set aside, is more simply how to get rid of a CCJ and is a way of cancelling the judgment or getting it wiped from the record. You can apply to get the CCJ set aside by filing out the form N244. You should receive this with your original forms as a way of letting you dispute it. You then send this back to the court. If you don’t have a copy of the N244 then you can download it here.

There are several acceptable reasons to get the CCJ set aside:

  • The order was made against you in your absence (in certain circumstances)
  • There may have been an incorrect judgment
  • You want to put a defence in and did not have the opportunity
  • The process did not follow the court rules.

If you dispute the CCJ then you may have to pay a court fee of £275 as well as go to a private hearing at the court to explain why you don’t owe the creditor money. The gov.uk website is full of guidance and details the steps to follow if you want to set aside a CCJ.

What does a CCJ discharged mean?

So, what does discharged mean on a CCJ? A discharged CCJ is when it is no longer classed as a judgment against you, and it therefore won’t show on your credit file. A CCJ discharged will only happen when you have paid the CCJ off in full, and within 30 days of receiving the judgment. If you pay after the 30 days this is when a CCJ is referred to as satisfied and not CCJ discharged.

a man happy in court

What does a CCJ discharged mean?

So, what does discharged mean on a CCJ? A discharged CCJ is when it is no longer classed as a judgment against you, and it therefore won’t show on your credit file. A CCJ discharged will only happen when you have paid the CCJ off in full, and within 30 days of receiving the judgment. If you pay after the 30 days this is when a CCJ is referred to as satisfied and not CCJ discharged.

a man happy in court

Will a satisfied CCJ affect my credit?

Yes, unfortunately a satisfied CCJ will affect your credit score. A satisfied CCJ is just another term for saying that the debt has been paid. A CCJ is named as ‘satisfied’ when you’ve paid the debt off after the first 30 days of getting the notice and will still show on your credit file for 6 years.

Some lenders do look at a satisfied CCJ more favourably though, and some lenders like Moneybarn could still accept you for car finance with a CCJ on your credit file.

Close up of a card and phone

Will a satisfied CCJ affect my credit?

Yes, unfortunately a satisfied CCJ will affect your credit score. A satisfied CCJ is just another term for saying that the debt has been paid. A CCJ is named as ‘satisfied’ when you’ve paid the debt off after the first 30 days of getting the notice and will still show on your credit file for 6 years.

Some lenders do look at a satisfied CCJ more favourably though, and some lenders like Moneybarn could still accept you for car finance with a CCJ on your credit file.

Close up of a card and phone

How to remove a CCJ from your credit report

You will only be able to remove a CCJ from your credit report in 1 of 2 ways:

  • 1. You dispute the CCJ and get it successfully set aside
  • 2. You pay the CCJ, in full, within 30 days of receiving the notice

If you are unable to do either of the above, then you may see ‘credit repair companies’ offering you their services which you must be cautious of.

These companies will ask for money in exchange for their help in getting the debt set aside. If you do engage with one of these companies, then you must make sure that you have enough to dispute the CCJ. They will try to tell you that you do, even if you do not, so make sure you have enough evidence to dispute the claim otherwise you could get in trouble with the court.

If you use a credit repair company then make sure that they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and also check that they are on the FCA register. If you have trouble with one or have had trouble in the past, then please speak to a professional debt support service.

How to remove a CCJ from your credit report

You will only be able to remove a CCJ from your credit report in 1 of 2 ways:

  • 1. You dispute the CCJ and get it successfully set aside
  • 2. You pay the CCJ, in full, within 30 days of receiving the notice

If you are unable to do either of the above, then you may see ‘credit repair companies’ offering you their services which you must be cautious of.

These companies will ask for money in exchange for their help in getting the debt set aside. If you do engage with one of these companies, then you must make sure that you have enough to dispute the CCJ. They will try to tell you that you do, even if you do not, so make sure you have enough evidence to dispute the claim otherwise you could get in trouble with the court.

If you use a credit repair company then make sure that they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and also check that they are on the FCA register. If you have trouble with one or have had trouble in the past, then please speak to a professional debt support service.

How long does a CCJ affect your credit rating?

A CCJ will stay on your credit file for 6 years from the date of judgment. Though in most cases your credit file will already be affected by missed payments or default notices that led you to receive the CCJ in the first place.

Lady checking her credit

How long does a CCJ affect your credit rating?

A CCJ will stay on your credit file for 6 years from the date of judgment. Though in most cases your credit file will already be affected by missed payments or default notices that led you to receive the CCJ in the first place.

Lady checking her credit

How many points does a CCJ affect your credit score?

As a CCJ is given because you owe money, in the lenders eyes it negatively reflects on how responsible you are with credit. A CCJ will show on your credit report for 6 years and can often affect your ability to get credit as it significantly lowers your credit score. But as everyone’s credit score is different, CCJs will affect everyone’s credit score differently. It’s also important to understand that a ‘good’ credit score is shown by a different point scale with each of the three main credit reference agencies.

However, if you can pay your CCJ off within 30 days of receiving the notice, then the CCJ should not be registered and should not affect your credit score. There are also ways that you can improve your credit score even with a CCJ.

Someone checking their credit score

How many points does a CCJ affect your credit score?

As a CCJ is given because you owe money, in the lenders eyes it negatively reflects on how responsible you are with credit. A CCJ will show on your credit report for 6 years and can often affect your ability to get credit as it significantly lowers your credit score. But as everyone’s credit score is different, CCJs will affect everyone’s credit score differently. It’s also important to understand that a ‘good’ credit score is shown by a different point scale with each of the three main credit reference agencies.

However, if you can pay your CCJ off within 30 days of receiving the notice, then the CCJ should not be registered and should not affect your credit score. There are also ways that you can improve your credit score even with a CCJ.

Someone checking their credit score

Get help if you have a CCJ

There is a lot to take in when you learn that you potentially may get a CCJ, from filling out the forms to disputing a claim. You don’t need to worry though as there are lots of different debt charities and websites that can help you and talk you through or explain your worries:

Get help if you have a CCJ

There is a lot to take in when you learn that you potentially may get a CCJ, from filling out the forms to disputing a claim. You don’t need to worry though as there are lots of different debt charities and websites that can help you and talk you through or explain your worries:

Frequently asked questions about CCJs

No, a CCJ is not a criminal conviction, and you will not be sent to prison for receiving or not paying a CCJ. It therefore will not show on a criminal record and won’t show on a DBS check.

Yes, even if you are unable to pay it in full within the 30 days of issue, it is still worth paying off. If you do not pay off the CCJ then the creditor could take further proceedings to involve bailiffs to find an alternative way to get their money back.

A default and a CCJ are different things. A default notice is given to you when you haven’t paid a credit agreement (like a vehicle finance agreement) for 3 or more months. A default notice is to let you know that you have broken the terms of your agreement and that the agreement will be terminated. It gives you 14 days to get in touch with your creditor to explain the situation and gives you time to come to an agreement of payment, which means a CCJ is not needed.

If you do default on your agreement, then do speak to either the creditor or a debt charity such as StepChange who can help you through the situation. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how reasonable creditors can be in helping you pay off your arrears.

A CCJ is when you have ignored the creditors request to get in touch, and they move onto the next step to get their money back through the courts. The courts will then send you a notice allowing you to come to an agreement of payment with the creditor. If you pay within 30 days of this notice then the CCJ will not be recorded, however if you leave it longer than this then it will stay on your credit file for 6 years. Which will affect your credit score.

After 6 years, a CCJ will no longer appear on your credit file. This means that lenders will not be able to see or in fact know that you ever had a CCJ. This will increase your chances of being able to borrow again.

A CCJ will be removed from the register and your credit file after 6 years. However, if you still owe money to the creditor then they can request permission from the court to enforce further action to get their money back. It is very unlikely that during the 6 years that you have a CCJ that the creditor will not take further action to get their money back.

Frequently asked questions about CCJs

No, a CCJ is not a criminal conviction, and you will not be sent to prison for receiving or not paying a CCJ. It therefore will not show on a criminal record and won’t show on a DBS check.

Yes, even if you are unable to pay it in full within the 30 days of issue, it is still worth paying off. If you do not pay off the CCJ then the creditor could take further proceedings to involve bailiffs to find an alternative way to get their money back.

A default and a CCJ are different things. A default notice is given to you when you haven’t paid a credit agreement (like a vehicle finance agreement) for 3 or more months. A default notice is to let you know that you have broken the terms of your agreement and that the agreement will be terminated. It gives you 14 days to get in touch with your creditor to explain the situation and gives you time to come to an agreement of payment, which means a CCJ is not needed.

If you do default on your agreement, then do speak to either the creditor or a debt charity such as StepChange who can help you through the situation. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how reasonable creditors can be in helping you pay off your arrears.

A CCJ is when you have ignored the creditors request to get in touch, and they move onto the next step to get their money back through the courts. The courts will then send you a notice allowing you to come to an agreement of payment with the creditor. If you pay within 30 days of this notice then the CCJ will not be recorded, however if you leave it longer than this then it will stay on your credit file for 6 years. Which will affect your credit score.

After 6 years, a CCJ will no longer appear on your credit file. This means that lenders will not be able to see or in fact know that you ever had a CCJ. This will increase your chances of being able to borrow again.

A CCJ will be removed from the register and your credit file after 6 years. However, if you still owe money to the creditor then they can request permission from the court to enforce further action to get their money back. It is very unlikely that during the 6 years that you have a CCJ that the creditor will not take further action to get their money back.

Emma Hayzen-Smith, Legal Services Manager
Bringing you advice and tips to highlight how finances can impact your credit score and other aspects of life.
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