Do I have to attend court?
Yes, in most cases you will have to attend a court hearing.
This should be at your local hearing centre, the court will let you know where and when this is.
Although this may sound worrying, a hearing usually takes place in a private room with you, a judge and sometimes a representative from the creditor. The judge is impartial and will decide a fair outcome.
At a hearing to set aside a CCJ the judge would normally consider whether you have an ‘arguable’ defence. They don’t make a final decision on whether the defence is correct or not at this stage.
The case will then follow the normal CCJ process for a defended claim. You have to use the N9a Claims pack.
HM Courts and Tribunal Services have confirmed that face-to-face hearings are still going ahead with social distancing measures in place.
There's more advice and guidance from HM Courts and Tribunal Services here.
What happens if my application is rejected?
If the court thinks you don’t have enough of a defence or there’s some other reason why the judgment shouldn’t be set aside, they’ll refuse the application and the judgment will stand. They’ll make another judgment at the same amount as the first one. This means you’re back in the same position.
They wouldn’t normally make any amendments to the judgment at this stage – just either set it aside or not.
Sometimes another hearing may be needed to make a final decision if there are complicated issues to consider.
However, if the court doesn’t agree that you have a defence against the claim, the judgment will stand.
Find out more about court action in England and Wales.
Can I remove a CCJ from my credit file?
If you pay your CCJ in full within a month of the judgment
To do this, you need to apply for a ‘certificate of cancellation’ from the County Court hearing centre which issued the judgment, providing them with proof of payment. You do this using court form N443 Application (PDF) for a certificate of satisfaction / cancellation.
There’s a £14 court fee to do this, but if you’re on a low income you may be able to get this for free. You can check to see if you’re eligible and apply for help with the court fees online.
Once the court has evidence you’ve paid the CCJ within a month they’ll contact the Registry Trust to remove the judgment from the public register.
If you pay off the CCJ more than a month after the judgment
You can’t remove it from the register, so it’ll appear there for six years. During this time, if you do pay it off, you can apply to the court for a ‘certificate of satisfaction’ using the same process as above.
This won’t remove your CCJ from the public register but it’ll show anyone who checks the register that it’s been paid off or ‘satisfied’. This might make it easier to apply for credit before the CCJ drops off your credit file, six years from the date of the original court judgment.
Read our guide to CCJs and credit files.
When does a County Court judgment become statute barred?
Statute barred means that a debt was taken out a long time ago and, as a result, you may no longer be liable for it.
A CCJ never becomes fully statute barred. However, if your creditor hasn’t taken any enforcement action against you for six years, they’ll need to apply to the court for permission if they want to use bailiffs to enforce the debt.
If you think the CCJ was ordered after the six year limitation period passed, you can ask the court to set aside the CCJ by putting in a Limitation Act defence./p>
Find out more about statute barred debt.
Get help with County Court judgments and other debts
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