County court judgments (CCJs)
Creditors may decide to take you to court to recover the money they think you owe them. Their aim is to obtain judgment in their favour so they can enforce the debt. Enforcing means making you pay it back.
A creditor can obtain a CCJ in their favour if:
If a creditor obtained default judgment against you, you may not even be aware that you have a CCJ. Many people only find out when they receive notification that the creditor is attempting to enforce the judgment, or when looking at their credit file.
To view the sort of information contained on the records, Trustonline has an example search result here: www.trustonline.org.uk/images/uploads/RTL_REPORT_SAMPLE.pdf
Debts subject to judgment (CCJs) differ from debts where judgment has not been obtained in many ways:
- CCJ records are public; this means anyone can pay to search the records and find out if you have any CCJs;
- CCJs drop off the record after 6 years but they do not go statute barred even if no payments have been made;
- The judgment supersedes any credit agreement, which means you no longer have the right to request a copy of your agreement, challenge its terms or the lack of a proper agreement (with the possible exception of unfair relationships arguments);
- Once you have a CCJ, repayments have to be arranged officially through the court rather than just informally;
- If you are no longer able to repay the agreed amount, you need to apply to the court for a variation order and may need to attend a hearing;
- You are obliged to provide full details of your income and expenditure to the court, which is optional when dealing with non-judgment creditors;
- Omissions or false statements may constitute contempt of court which is a criminal offence;
- You can be made to appear in court for an oral examinaion and a warrant for your arrest can be issued if you refuse to attend;
- The creditor can apply to the court to enforce the judgment by various means. See enforcement.
- A CCJ can affect your current and/or future employment more than a credit default. Not all employers are able to conduct credit checks but anyone can check for CCJs.