A reader asked:
In August 2015 a CCJ was registered against me for £211. I paid off the balance, but not within the month. I have bank statements to prove its been paid.
On my credit report it shows the status as “active” even though I have paid it. I’ve contacted the debt collector multiple times but they say as it’s an old case it’s no longer on their system and they can’t help me.
I don’t know what to do. Should I just wait it out until Aug next year (2021) and hope it drops off? If I get it marked satisfied will it help my credit rating? The rest of my credit report is clean. Will it stay on my report for another 6 years?
As you say, you could just wait until the CCJ drops off your credit record after six years. But if you are planning on making any credit applications in the next year, they may be declined because of this apparently unpaid CCJ.
How to get this corrected
The credit reference agencies such as Experian get their CCJ details from the database maintained by Registry Trust. Registry Trust gets the information about CCJs from the courts.
If the CCJ was paid in full, the creditor should have informed the court the CCJ was satisfied. In this reader’s case the debt collector didn’t do this at the time and seems unwilling to do this now, so you have to tell the court yourself.
Your credit report will show the court name, date and case number. Most CCJs for consumer debts such as credit cards or loans are processed by the County Court Business Centre in Northampton, whose address is here. You will need to send details of the CCJ and a copy of your bank statement to prove that the payment was made.
That should be enough. But if you want a Certificate of Satisfaction you can apply for one using form N443, in which case you have to enclose a cheque for £14 made out to HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
A summary of the effect on your credit record
If you paid the CCJ within a month it disappears
A CCJ that you have paid promptly within one calendar month days should be deleted from your credit record.
If it is still showing, your creditor hasn’t told the court. You can sort this out by following the above procedure: send a copy of your bank statement to the court, the court tells Trust Online who updates the Register which will be reflected in your credit reports.
All other CCJs go after 6 years automatically.
If it hasn’t been paid within the first month the CCJ will stay on your credit record and drop off after six years.
It will drop off after 6 years whatever happens – whether you pay it in full, settle it partially, you are still making monthly payments to it or haven’t paid it at all.
You don’t have to do anything – the CCJ will drop off automatically.
The only way to remove a CCJ apart from waiting for it to drop off after six years is to get it “set aside” by the court. Do not believe any websites that say they can get it removed for you if you pay them!
You can get a CCJ deleted if you win an affordability complaint about the debt, but this still has to go through the court set aside process.
If you paid the CCJ in full but after more than a month
If you paid the CCJ after the first month, getting it marked as Satisfied will NOT improve the credit scores that you can see.
This may seem surprising, but whether you have paid a CCJ or not is not taken into account in those credit score calculations. Until the CCJ drops off after 6 years, you will not see an improvement.
But paying a CCJ in full may make some creditors more prepared to lend to you. And of course it stops the creditor sending round bailiffs or trying to deduct money from your wages.
If you settled the CCJ partially
There is no way of marking a CCJ as partially satisfied. It will remain showing as outstanding until it drops off.
If a CCJ was included in bankruptcy, a DRO or an IVA
A debt ceases to exist after you are discharged from bankruptcy or after your DRO year ends or your IVA completes.
But although you no longer owe the money, the CCJ will not be marked as satisfied. The credit reporting rules say the debt should be marked as partially satisfied in some way, but there is no way to mark a CCJ as partially satisfied so it will continue to show as outstanding on your credit record for 6 years. See clear up your credit record after bankruptcy or clear up your credit record after a DRO.
Is this worth doing?
You may wonder what the point of getting your credit record corrected is if your credit score will not improve.
But lenders don’t actually use the credit scores you can see make their own decisions about who to lend to, and many of them may take account of the “satisfied” marker against a CCJ, so this is worth doing.
You are very unlikely to get credit at a reasonable rate with an unpaid CCJ showing.
But even after the CCJ has been paid and your credit record updated, you will still find it hard to get a mortgage or other low cost credit.
Updated in 2020.