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How to find out if you have a CCJ

To find out if you have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) in the UK, you can check your credit reports, search the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines, or contact the County Court that you suspect might have issued a CCJ directly.

What is a County Court Judgment?

A CCJ is a legal decision that confirms you owe a debt. It can negatively impact your credit rating and ability to obtain future credit. The CCJ will remain on the public register for 6 years, and lenders use this information to assess your creditworthiness.

Remember, a CCJ can negatively impact your credit rating, making it harder to borrow money. It's crucial to address any CCJs promptly to avoid long-term financial repercussions.

Can I have a CCJ issued against me without my knowledge?

Yes, it is possible to have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) issued against you without your knowledge.

Here is how this can happen:

  • If the creditor sends the legal documents to an incorrect address where you no longer live, you may be unaware of the proceedings. If you fail to respond to the claim form, the court can enter a default judgment against you, resulting in a CCJ you may not be aware of.
  • Creditors can sometimes obtain a CCJ against you without your knowledge. This can happen if they don't properly inform you about the legal process they are following. They may try to obtain the CCJ without giving you a fair chance to respond.
  • Sometimes, a CCJ can be issued by mistake because of errors made by the creditor or the courts. For example, you might have already paid the debt or disputed the amount owed.

Because having a CCJ on your record can severely damage your credit, you must check if any CCJs are registered against you, as you may not even know them.

How can I check if I have a CCJ issued against me?

It's essential to check if you have any CCJs against you due to their significant impact. Creditors may not always inform you properly about CCJ actions, so you could have one without knowing.

There are three ways to check if you have been issued a CCJ without you knowing:

  1. Check your credit report. Simply request your statutory credit report from the three main credit reference agencies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. These will list any CCJs or court judgments recorded against your name.
  2. Check the CCJ Register. You can also search the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines maintained online by Registry Trust Limited at www.trustonline.org.uk. For a small fee of around £4, you can search by name to find any CCJs issued against you across the UK.
  3. If you suspect you might have a CCJ, you probably know why. This can happen if you received a claims form but moved the address and didn't know what happened next. Contact the court or lender which you suspect might have been involved.

What should I do if a CCJ was issued against me without my knowledge?

First, determine who the lender is who got the judgment against you. Check your credit report first; it might have their name. If it's not there, contact the county court that issued the judgment and give them the case number. They'll tell you how to reach the lender.

If you think the CCJ was a mistake or have already paid the debt it relates to, you can ask the court to set it aside. You'll need to give evidence to support your claim. If successful, this process removes the CCJ from your credit file.

But if you agree that you owe the debt mentioned in the CCJ, you should pay it as soon as possible. You should find the lender's name and contact information on the judgment paperwork you got. Remember not to pay the court directly. Instead, pay the creditor directly and keep proof of payment.

If you can't pay the entire CCJ amount immediately, you can request to pay it off in instalments. Many creditors are willing to accept this to receive some repayment, so talk to them and arrange a payment schedule. The important thing is to stick to the agreed instalment amounts. Missing payments could bring you back to court again.

Sometimes, you might find the payment demands unrealistic, considering your financial situation. In this case, you can ask the court to adjust the terms of the CCJ. To do this, fill out an N245 application form. You'll need to give information about your income, expenses, assets, and suggest a monthly amount you can realistically manage to pay. If the court doesn't approve, they'll set new payment terms.

You can also explore formal debt solutions like an administration order, especially if you have several CCJs under £5,000. With an administration order, you make one payment to the court, and they distribute it among your creditors.

Whatever you do, act quickly. Ignoring a CCJ will only make it harder to get credit in the future. And, if you don't pay or you can't come to an agreement with the lender, they can take serious enforcement against you, like:

  • Sending bailiffs to take items from your home;
  • Trying to take money directly from your wages;
  • Attempting to freeze or take money from your bank accounts;
  • Even putting a charge on property you own, such as a house.

On top of this, a CCJ will also knock off up to 250 points from your credit score, according to Experian. That's out of 999 – enough to take you from "excellent" to borderline "fair", a drop of three whole credit score bands. And that's presuming you started with a perfect credit score.

To prevent a CCJ from hurting your credit, pay it off immediately before it's recorded on your credit file. If you don't, it stays on your credit report for six years, making it hard to get loans, a mortgage, or even a mobile phone contract. Check your credit report regularly and act quickly if you spot any CCJ you were unaware of.

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