If you don’t know if you have a County Court Judgment you can check Registry Trust’s database of CCJs. This is the official central register of CCJs and you can search it using the Trust Online system. Your creditors aren’t informed when you check this way.
You may want to find out about CCJs for two reasons:
- if you have been ignoring your debts for a while and you have moved or thrown away a lot of letters, you may be worried that you have County Court Judgments (CCJs).
- you may have been refused credit or even a mortgage and been told the reason is that you have a CCJ.
Find CCJs from your credit record
The simplest way to find out if you have a CCJ is to get a copy of your credit report from any of the three credit reference agencies. That gives an overview of most of your debts, showing defaults, balances and creditor details as well as any CCJs – and it’s free!
But many people worry that accessing your credit record will alert your creditors. You may want to avoid this if you are very concerned about CCJs and bailiffs.
The good news is that creditors can’t see if you have just looked at your credit record.
The less good news is that signing up to see your credit record may involve giving older addresses so the credit reference agency can identify who you are. Doing this may be adding links to your credit record and those links to old addresses may help a creditor find you.
It’s not clear that you should be worried about this. Creditors have a nasty habit of finding you anyway! It may not feel like it, but it’s usually better to sort out your old debts than for a creditor to get a CCJ against you at an old address. But if you are worried, then there is an alternative: Trust Online.
Check for CCJs on Trust Online
An alternative to looking at your credit records is to use the Trust Online system. You can use this to see if anyone has CCJs – if you have a business and a client is asking for credit, you could use it to see if your client has any CCJs. So you can look at your own records.
One of the disadvantages of Trust Online is that it looks for matches by both name and address. The address is from the court record which shows the address that the creditor provided at the time of the CCJ.
If you have moved several times, you may need to look at several searches as addresses are not linked in the Registry Trust database. Each Trust Online search costs £4 and there are no free ways to do this.
What will you see?
If there is a CCJ for the name/address you searched for you can see the public details: the name of the court, the case number, the date the judgment was made, how much it is for and whether it has been paid (“satisfied”).
A sample report looks like this:
An * by a name or address shows a record where this is a small variation in the spelling – you need to decide if this record is likely to be yours.
As you can see, the search doesn’t show the name of the claimant. The relevant court can tell you this (if you are the defendant) from the case number and date. You can find contact details for the court from this government website.
CCJs remain on the record for six years
CCJs will remain on your credit file and on the Trust Online database for six years after the judgment date. After that, they drop off however they still exist. They never become “statute-barred”, but after six years a claimant has to apply to the court for permission to enforce a CC. It is possible they will get permission, but it is unlikely as it has been so long since the judgment before they have attempted to enforce it.
If a creditor contacts you about a CCJ that is over 6 years old or goes to court to enforce a CCJ which is over six years old, contact National Debtline for advice about your situation.
What if you don’t know what a CCJ is for?
Sometimes finding you have a CCJ comes as a complete surprise – you may have been turned down for a mortgage and other credit and been astonished to find it is because there is a CCJ on your credit record.
Finding out the details from Trust Online as described above will give you a case number and which court. You can then contact the court and get the details of the judgment – this will give more information about the original debt and the current creditor.
Then you need to contact the creditor and say you know nothing about this debt. I am afraid you are probably going to have to apply to the court for the CCJ to be “set aside” which will cost you £255, but this may be waived if you are on benefits or a very low income. I suggest calling National Debtline if you need help with applying for a set aside.
If you do know what the CCJ is for
You need to get a plan to deal with not just this CCJ but your other debts as well.
Unless you only have a couple of debts, it is usually a mistake to try to deal with them individually without trying to get the full picture first. If you decide the only CCJ you currently have is a priority and you make an offer to vary the CCJ, offering a monthly payment you can afford (see this article for details about how to do this using form N245), what will you do if another creditor goes to court for a CCJ?
CCJs may sound like the most urgent debts, but you need a complete list of your debts (even if it means getting your credit records and possibly alerting your creditors) and an Income / Expenditure sheet to be able to decide what to do. So get that “Financial Selfie” and then look at the roadmap of potential debt options and decide which one will work for you: