Money Wellness
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What happens if you don't pay a CCJ after 6 years?

A county court judgment (CCJ) is a court order that might be registered against you if you don’t repay money you owe.

You can get them in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the equivalent process is called enforcing a debt by diligence.

A CCJ stays on your credit file for six years from the date of the judgment. But what happens if you don’t pay?

Unpaid CCJ – what happens next?

If you don’t pay what you owe or agree a payment arrangement for your CCJ debt, the lender can apply to the court to take further enforcement action against you.

This further enforcement action might include applying for:

  • bailiffs to visit you and take goods to cover the cost of your debt
  • an attachment of earnings order to take a fixed percentage directly from your pay until your debt is paid off
  • a third-party debt order telling your bank to hand over money from your bank account to cover your debt
  • a charging order to secure the amount you owe against your home (providing you’re a homeowner). After a lender gets a charging order, they can apply to the court for another order to force you to sell your home. This is called an order for sale. The lender will then take what you owe them from the proceeds of the sale
  • you to be made bankrupt (if you owe more than £5,000)

Can a CCJ be enforced after six years?

Although a CCJ will be removed from your credit file after six years, whether you’ve paid or not, it can still be enforced.

Simple contract debts become statute barred after six years. This means if there’s no contact between you and a lender for six years, the lender can’t take court action to recover what you owe them. This applies to things like credit cards, overdrafts, store cards and bank loans.

This is not the case with CCJs. You can’t dispute a CCJ debt. The lender may need to get permission from the court to chase the debt if the CCJ is over six years old, but it won’t become statute barred.

What happens if a CCJ is issued for a debt from over 6 years ago?

If you’ve been issued with a CCJ for a debt that should have been statute barred because you hadn’t had any contact from the lender for at least six years, you can apply to have the CCJ set aside.

You’ll need to fill out an N244 form and send it to the court along with evidence that the debt was statute barred at the time of the claim. 

Do you have to declare a CCJ after 6 years?

A CCJ will be recorded on your credit file for six years unless you pay it off within a month and apply for a certificate of satisfaction/cancellation

It will also be recorded on the Register of Judgments, Orders & Fines. This is sometimes called the CCJ Register.

After six years, the CCJ will be removed from both your credit file and the register so lenders won’t be able to see you’ve had a CCJ. You don’t have to tell potential lenders about CCJs that are more than six years old.

Can CCJ debt be written off?

If you’re unable to pay your debts, you may be able to enter a debt solution to write off some or all of what you owe. This includes CCJ debt.

The debt solutions that allow you to write off debt are:

There are fees for these debt solutions and they will affect your credit rating.

Who removes a CCJ from my credit file?

The Registry Trust which looks after the Register of Judgments, Orders & Fines should automatically remove a CCJ from the register and your credit file after six years.

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