What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ) and how does it impact me?

A CCJ can affect your credit report. Find out more about CCJs, how to manage them, and how Lowell can help with a CCJ in your name.

If you have a CCJ registered against you because of an unpaid debt with Lowell, or if you've received letters which refer to potential legal action, you might be feeling worried, but we wanted to provide some information that may help.

That's why we've created this straightforward guide to explain what a CCJ is, how it can impact you, and how long it can remain on your credit file.

This content is intended to be an impartial guide regarding CCJs. Lowell Financial Ltd does not offer financial advice. You can find out more about the organisations you can contact in our guide on debt help and support.

In this guide, we'll cover:

What is a CCJ?

A CCJ is a Court Order that is registered against someone who owes money to a creditor or a company that has purchased their debt.

If the company that owns the debt has attempted to contact the debtor repeatedly but hasn't had a response or reached a satisfactory resolution, they can instruct solicitors to issue Court proceedings.

At this point, if you own the debt, you then become what's called a Defendant. You can respond to the County Court claim however you see fit. Should no response be received from you in response to the legal proceedings, or you fail to comply with a Court Order to file direction questionnaires, the solicitors can ask the County Court to enter a CCJ.

The N180 direction questionnaire is a form that will be sent to you by the court with instructions, or ‘directions’, from the judge. This form is specific to the Small Claims Track, which is usually for claims under £10,000, and is part of the court process.

If your debt is managed by Lowell and you're concerned that a CCJ could be entered against you, we're here to help. Get in touch with our supportive team and find out how we can work with you to manage your debt with a payment plan.

If you get in touch and start working with us on a payment plan and making payments, it may prevent your debt from being passed on to our Solicitors.

What happens once a CCJ is entered against you?

If a CCJ is entered against you, the Court will order you to pay the outstanding debt to the creditor or debt purchaser. The Judgment may include payment terms, which means the Court has ordered you to pay instalments over a period of time. You can still work with the Solicitors to explore affordable payment options.

Once a CCJ has been entered, it will be recorded on a public register called The Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines which is maintained by Registry Trust. This information is then passed onto credit reference agencies who are responsible for recording this information on your credit file.

Lenders use your credit file when they're deciding whether to lend you credit. A CCJ could have a negative effect on your ability to get credit in the future. But even if you have a CCJ on your credit file, there are things you can do to help reduce that negative impact. You can check out our helpful blog on improving your credit score to find out more and see how we might be able to help.

How to check if you have a CCJ

There are a few ways you can check if a CCJ has been registered against you, including searching the register of Judgments, Orders and Fines as well as looking at your credit report.

If you want to check the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, you can do this online for a small fee. Alternatively, you can get a copy of your credit report from a credit reference agency (CRA) like Equifax, Transunion, and Experian for free.

Your credit file can affect you in a number of ways, so it’s important to regularly check that the information on your report is correct.

I have a CCJ but don't know who from

The best way to get information about a CCJ is from your credit file.

If you've found a CCJ on your credit file, there will be a unique Court reference number (known as the claim number), which can be used to get more information from the County Court. It should also tell you the date that the CCJ was obtained, and the total amount currently owed.

How to pay a CCJ

After receiving a Judgment, the Court might look at the paperwork and decide the frequency and the sum of the payments to be made, if the creditor hasn’t already specified this when requesting the CCJ. Either the court or creditor can issue:

  • A Forthwith Judgment - This means that you’ll need to pay the entire debt straight away or by a specified date.
  • A Judgment by Instalments – This allows you to set up a CCJ payment plan and spread the cover over a longer period of time with affordable instalments.
  • A Judgment in Default - This is when you don’t respond to the claim meaning the Court can’t take your personal situation into account. Therefore, you might be issued either a Judgment in Default or a Judgment by Instalments.

If you’re ordered to pay the debt immediately but are struggling financially, you can ask the Court to change the terms of the Judgement and pay it back in instalments instead. This is known as an Application to vary Judgment and involves filing the N245 form with the Court and paying a Court fee. It’s worth noting that there’s no guarantee that the Court will accept your offer and may list your Application to vary Judgment to be decided at a hearing.

You might also be able to pay all of your debts to the Court in one weekly or monthly payment if you’ve got another judgment against you. It’s worth noting that this only applies if your total debts are under £5,000.

If you're struggling with your finances and have a CCJ against you, you could apply for an Administration Order. This is a repayment plan which could help you deal with your debts and give you some protection from your creditors. You can find out more about what this involves by reading our guide to administration orders which goes into more detail.

How long does a CCJ stay on your credit file?

If you can pay your debt in full within one calendar month from the date that the CCJ was entered, the CCJ will be cancelled and removed from your credit file, upon proof being provided to the Court.

After the calendar month, an unpaid CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years, after which it will be removed. If you pay the balance owed in full at any point during the six years of the CCJ being reported, the CCJ will be updated to show as having been "satisfied".

Will a satisfied CCJ affect my credit?

If you’ve got a satisfied CCJ on your credit file, this will be viewed better than an outstanding Judgement as it shows that you’ve paid it off. However, a satisfied CCJ could still impact you and make future borrowing more difficult.

What happens if I ignore a CCJ?

If you have a CCJ, you should take steps to try and pay the debt back. This is because ignoring a CCJ could lead to further enforcement action and may also increase the amount of the debt if there are costs or fees associated with this action.

The most common methods of enforcement are:

  • A Warrant of Control – This means a bailiff (enforcement officer) may visit your property to collect the balance owed. We’ve got a dedicated guide on dealing with bailiffs which includes more information on what might happen.
  • An Attachment of Earnings – This means your employer could be ordered by the Court to deduct payments directly from your wages.
  • A Charging Order - This is a charge obtained over any interest you own in a property.

If you have a CCJ and are feeling worried or overwhelmed about it, don't ignore it. Instead, get in touch with the company who took the legal action which resulted in the CCJ and try to work out a solution with them.

Is a CCJ a criminal record?

No, a CCJ is not the same as a criminal offence. If you’re issued a CCJ, this doesn’t result in a criminal record. However, as we mentioned above, it’s important not to ignore a CCJ as this may lead to more severe legal action. 

How to get a CCJ removed from the Register

To get a CCJ removed from the Register, you’ll need to write to the Court and explain that you’ve paid the CCJ within 30 days. You’ll also need to provide proof of payment from your creditor(s), such as a letter of satisfaction.

Alternatively, if you don’t believe you owe the debt then you can ask the Court to ‘set aside’ the CCJ which will result in the claim being re-opened and you will be given the opportunity to file a defence.

However, this only applies if you can prove there is a legal reason why you don’t owe the money. There may also be a fee involved with asking the court to review your case.

To do this, you’ll need to complete form N244. The Court then decides whether you owe the outstanding debt or not. If the Court finds that you do not owe the debt, the CCJ will be removed.

It's worth noting that it may take up to four weeks for the register to be updated and your entry to be removed.

How to remove a CCJ from your credit file

When it comes to CCJ removal from your credit file, there are a couple of ways you might be able to do this.  

If you can pay your debt in full within one calendar month from the date that the CCJ was entered, the CCJ will be removed from your credit file; however, you must provide evidence that the debt has been paid in full.

If you're not able to pay your debt in full within a calendar month from the date that the CCJ was entered, you should still try to keep making payments if you can. You can work with the company that obtained the CCJ to find the most affordable way to do this.

Once your CCJ balance is repaid outside of one calendar month, the Court will notify Registry Trust who will then update the credit reference agencies. This won’t remove the CCJ from being reported, but it will mean that anyone checking your credit history will see that it has been satisfied, and that you have worked to pay off your debt. 

Also, as a CCJ ages, it may become less important to your credit history. This could make it more likely that you will be accepted for credit, even if the CCJ is still on your credit file, as it will be marked as “satisfied”.

You can also apply for a certificate of satisfaction as further evidence that you have satisfied your CCJ, by contacting your local County Court. There may be a small fee payable to the County Court for this service. 

If you're worried about a Lowell debt leading to a CCJ and impacting your credit report, we can help you take control of your debt(s) with a payment plan. Once you get in touch and let us know about your circumstances, we can offer support to find the right advice and help for you, and stop your debt with us from being passed onto our solicitors for legal action.

It is never too late to engage and set up a fair and affordable repayment plan, whether a CCJ has been obtained or not. So, if we have been in touch, you can act and start getting your debt under control by responding to Lowell or the instructed solicitors.

Can I get a mortgage with a CCJ?

Obtaining a mortgage loan with a CCJ can be difficult, as it will be displayed on your credit file and visible to lenders when they're deciding whether to grant you a mortgage loan or not. 

However, if you're working with the company that obtained the CCJ and actively making payments towards your debt, this may improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan.

The age of a CCJ may also have an effect, as its impact on your credit file may reduce over time. For example, you might stand a better chance of being approved for a mortgage loan if you're able to set up a payment plan and pay your CCJ in full. This is because it will be marked as “satisfied” on your credit file.

For more information on what else could impact your mortgage application, you can read our guide on debt and getting a mortgage.

It's always better to avoid a CCJ altogether, so if you have any concerns about your debt, please get in touch and work with Lowell to settle your debt before any legal action is taken.

Can I get a CCJ while on a Debt Management Plan (DMP)?

Yes, it is possible for you to get a CCJ during your Debt Management Plan (DMP).

Unlike other debt solutions, including IVAs and bankruptcy, a DMP won’t give you protection from creditors taking legal action. This includes them deciding to issue a CCJ. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be issued a CCJ as long as you stick to the terms of your DMP.

The process of deciding on a CCJ payment plan works similarly to a DMP. Details of your financial situation will be given to the court, and you’ll be asked to pay a sensible amount based on your circumstances. 

Although a crucial difference between a CCJ and a DMP is that a CCJ is classed as a ‘priority debt’. This means that missed payments could lead to more serious consequences. 

Can Lowell obtain a CCJ against me?

In short; yes, but this action will only be taken as a last resort, so it is important that you engage with Lowell when we first get in touch with you. We would always prefer to work with you on your journey to becoming debt-free.

If Lowell has purchased your debt, we'll contact you to make you aware that we are here to help and support you in taking control of how you repay your debt. Lowell will try to get in touch with you by phone, text, email or letter, depending on the details that we hold for you.

If we can't get in touch with you, or if you're unable to work with us, we may instruct our Solicitors to act on our behalf. If you don't respond when our Solicitors try to contact you, they'll send a letter of Claim telling you that you may start legal proceedings. If you don't get in touch after this, legal proceedings may begin, which could result in a CCJ.

We've previously been asked 'is Lowell a CCJ?' and the answer to this is no. A CCJ is an Order made by the Court at the request of our Solicitors acting on our instructions.

Dealing with a CCJ from Lowell

Lowell will always offer you the most affordable way to repay your debt, so it is important that you take the first step and get in touch. By setting up a reasonable and fair payment plan, and maintaining payments as agreed, you don't have to worry about your debt ever reaching the point of legal action, which could result in a CCJ.

If a CCJ is entered against you from Lowell, you should get in touch with our instructed Solicitors who will work with you to find a way to settle your debt.

Can Lowell remove a CCJ?

Lowell can't directly remove a CCJ as it is an Order made by the Court. 

If you've already had a CCJ entered against you and our Solicitors are in contact with you regarding the legal action, you should work with them to pay the CCJ balance. 

Paying the balance in full will result in the CCJ being marked as “satisfied”. This may help you when applying for credit in the future.

If you're concerned about debt leading to a CCJ, Lowell is here to help and support you, no matter what your circumstances are. Once you get in touch with us, we can work together to come up with a payment plan that's affordable for you. You can also manage your payment plan yourself through our online portal or mobile app.

For more guides on handling debt and information on how we work here at Lowell, check out our debt guidance hub. You can also get more independent financial advice regarding CCJs from organisations such as MoneyHelper or StepChange.


Last Published: 16th May, 2024

First Published: 14th May, 2021