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 because you have a CCJ.
Find CCJs from Trust Online
The simplest and best way to find out is to get a copy of your credit record – that gives an overview of most of your debts, showing defaults, balances and creditor details as well as any CCJs. But accessing your credit records may alert creditors to your current address, which you may want to avoid if you are very concerned about CCJs and bailiffs.
An alternative to accessing 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.
One of the disadvantages is that it looks for matches by both name and address, looking at the court record which show the address for you that the claimant provided at the time of the judgment. If you have moved several times, you may need to look at several searches as addresses are not linked.
If there are CCJs on the system, 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 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 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 yoiur 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. I suggest calling National Debtline if you need help with the court processes.
If you do know what the debts are
But if you do know what the CCJs are for, you need to get a plan to deal with them.
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: