Today our CCJ removal solicitors discuss the prevention and removal of CCJ’s.
A CCJ is a formal order provided by the court, meaning that an individual or other legal entity – commonly referred to as the ‘judgment debtor’, has a debt to pay. The CCJ is entered in a Register of Judgments which is publicly searchable; and thus, can seriously affect an individual’s credit rating and their ability to get loans, mortgages and credit cards. If a CCJ is not paid within the set time period, the CCJ will be entered onto your credit record, and the judgment will be known as ‘unsatisfied’.
Many individuals with a County Court Judgment registered against their names only become aware of this fact when it is too late; for example, when a failed attempt is made to obtain a mortgage. The cause of a CCJ may be as innocent as an overpayment of a few hundred pounds by a previous employer, but the impact may be devastating.
It is essential to have an experienced CCJ removal solicitor on your side for specialist legal advice and guidance. South Bank Legal’s CCJ removal solicitors have a track record of delivering cost effective CCJ removal services to individuals.
Preventing a CCJ
Commonly, CCJ’s are entered as default judgments. A default judgment is made after a civil claim is commenced and served on a defendant, but the defendant has not responded to the claim or filed a defence within the required time (usually 14 or 28 days). It is therefore important that, when warning letters or court documents are received, they are not ignored. In many cases, warning letters are incorrectly sent by companies or their debt collection agents, so CCJ’s may be prevented by simply responding to the letter in writing disputing the debt on the grounds that (for example):
- the sum has already been paid;
- the sum asked for is the wrong amount;
- the warning or demand has been sent to the wrong person; i.e.. it is not yours to pay; or
- you dispute paying the sum because the goods or services it relates to were not delivered, not provided as agreed or were defective or sub-standard.
Where the warning letters have ended, and an actual civil claim has been served, then it is crucial to respond to the claim within the applicable deadlines set by the rules of court. Failure to respond at all will most likely result in a default judgment and a CCJ being registered against your name.
How can I remove a County Court Judgement?
In order to remove a CCJ from the Register of Judgments (and therefore one’s credit record), the full sum specified must be paid within one month from the date of the judgement.
If the sum has been paid within this time, an application can be made to have the entry into the CCJ Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines removed. A certificate from the court may also be required in order to prove that the sum has been paid. A court fee must be paid to receive this.
If the one month period has expired, a CCJ can also be removed by obtaining a court order to set aside the judgement. Such a court order can either be obtained by agreeing a Consent Order with the judgment creditor or in the absence of consent, by applying to the court using Form N244.
Setting aside a judgment by way of Consent Order is typically quicker and more cost efficient, although there must be a good reason to set the CCJ aside and parties ought to be aware that it is not right or proper to engage in “credit-washing”, where applications are made to Court to set aside judgments without good reason. .
If a CCJ is over 6 years old, it will no longer appear on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, even if it has not been paid. The CCJ will have effectively been removed by the passage of time.
Evidence to support your application
Any application made to the court must be supported by evidence. This evidence should establish the actual basis for the application; this evidence may include:
· Evidence that the defendant: the respondent against whom court proceedings are... had not received the claim form or the particulars of the claim
· Details of why the defendant: the respondent against whom court proceedings are... has a prospect of successfully defending the claim, why the judgement should be set aside or varied and why the defendant: the respondent against whom court proceedings are... has grounds to defend the claim
· Evidence of defective service
· Evidence that explains how the CCJ came about in the first place
· Evidence that explains any delay in making the application for the CCJ to be set aside
To demonstrate to the court that you have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim, you do not have to prove your defence completely, in the way you would at a trial. There is a lower hurdle in relation to proving your defence at the set aside application stage. Defendants seeking to set aside CCJ’s will normally just need to show that they have a genuine factual dispute about whether the judgment sum is owed.
In considering whether to allow a defendant’s application to set aside a CCJ, the court will have to consider whether the application was made promptly. The requirement to act promptly means that those seeking CCJ removal should take action as soon as the default judgment is discovered.
Often, a cause of delay in applying to have a CCJ set aside is that the defendant simply didn’t know about the matter; perhaps they had moved house and the warning letters and court documents simply did not come to their attention. In any case, if there is an undue delay that has not been properly explained to the court, the set aside application may well fail.
South Bank Legal’s CCJ solicitors can provide clients with further information on the legal evidence required and the necessary steps to be undertaken when making an application to the court.
How CCJ removal solicitors can assist
CCJ removal solicitors will typically perform various tasks on behalf of their client, some of which include:
· Advising clients on their legal position regarding the CCJ
· Assisting their client with resolving their debt with the creditor
· If there is a good reason for the CCJ to be set aside seeking to come to an arrangement with the creditor over the removal of the CCJ and making the required application to the court by consent
· Preparing the necessary application to set aside the CCJ if the creditor does not consent to the removal of the CCJ
· Representing clients at the hearing of the application to set the CCJ aside
How can South Bank Legal’s CCJ removal solicitors assist?
Our County Court Judgement removal solicitors have helped many clients successfully set aside CCJs (thereby ensuring the judgments are removed from their credit records) as we understand the impact that a CCJ can have.
We are able to quickly evaluate your claim in order to determine if you there are grounds for a CCJ removal or to set the judgement aside. Following this, we shall then advise you on how you should proceed and the best course of action to obtain a successful conclusion.
At South Bank Legal, our legal team have experience in all areas of law. We work closely with our clients and provide the legal services that they need to reach the best conclusion for their case.
For more information, you can contact South Bank Legal via email at email@example.com or telephone 0203 1266 584 for a confidential discussion with a dispute resolution solicitor today.
Our law firm is authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority, and we are registered in England and Wales. Our registered office is located in Central London.
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