If a creditor has gone to the court to issue a judgment against you to recover money owed, it will be recorded on a public register known as the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines.
Having your details on a public register can be worrying, and it’s normal not to want everyone to know details of your financial situation, but knowing how it works and why it exists can help put your mind at ease.
What is the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines?
The Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines is a public register that contains information on debtors in England and Wales that have had County Court or High Court judgments issued against them. Examples include County Court Judgments and Administration Orders.
It is operated and managed by the Registry Trust, which is a not-for-profit company that operates similar registers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and is the only place where you can find detailed information on debtors that are in or have been in County Court and High Court Judgments.
Enforced Tribunal Awards for money against individuals and organisations were also added in 2009.
Currently, TrustOnline is the only service that provides immediate access to the official statutory Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines to the public for a small fee.
What is a County Court Judgment?
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is a type of County Court Order issued in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that may be issued against you if you fail to make repayments on a debt. In Scotland, County Court Judgments are known as Decrees.
If you are struggling to keep up with your monthly payments on a debt and have failed to reach an agreement with your creditor over missed payments, they may go to the court to take legal action against you in the form of a CCJ.
Most creditors will try to come to an agreement before taking legal action and you should be informed via a letter at least 14 days before a CCJ is officially issued against you.
This letter will outline the steps you need to take to resolve the matter and what may happen if you choose to ignore it.
What information will appear on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines?
The Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines contains information on all debtors in County Court and High Court judgments, including:
- Full name
- Current or last-known address
- Date of birth
- The date of the judgment
- The name of the court that issued the judgment
- The status of the judgment (resolved or ongoing)
These details will stay on the register for a total of six years from the date the judgment was issued, regardless of whether the debt has been paid partially, fully, or not at all during this time.
Full claimant information is not included on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines and can only be accessed through the court.
Who can access the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines?
The Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines is publicly available which means anyone can access a debtor’s details for a small fee (usually between £6 and £10 per search).
However, it is usually only accessed by those looking for information on someone’s financial situation, such as landlords, employers, and lenders.
For example, if a prospective tenant is in a CCJ, or has recently had a CCJ, a landlord may ask for a bigger security deposit upfront or request that they have a guarantor in they event they can’t pay rent.
Will having my details on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines affect my credit rating?
If your details are recorded on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, it means you have had a County Court or High Court judgment issued against you in the last six years.
Having a judgment of any kind will negatively affect your credit rating because it will remain on your credit file for six years.
This will make it difficult to get approved for credit, such as a mortgage, loan, or even phone contract, because it signifies that you have struggled with debt in the past.
Lenders can access your credit file from any of the main credit reference agencies and use the information contained on your credit file to decide whether or not to give you further credit.
Can I remove my CCJ from the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines?
Having your details on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines can be nerve-wracking but there are some circumstances where you may be able to get your CCJ removed.
However, it is worth noting that a CCJ will only be removed for a good reason and you may be required to provide proof to support your claim.
Pay the full amount within one month
One of the quickest ways to get your details removed from the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, as well as your credit file, is to pay the full amount owed within one month of receiving the judgment.
If you pay the full amount after one month has passed, it will remain on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for six years but will be marked as ‘satisfied’.
This will let lenders know that you have repaid the debt.
Apply to get it set aside
Another way to get a CCJ removed from the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines is to apply to get it cancelled or ‘set aside’ by filling in an N244 form and sending it to the court.
However, getting a CCJ successfully set aside can be difficult and you must be able to prove to the court that the CCJ was issued in error, in your absence, or the creditor didn’t follow the correct procedure.
Sending an N244 form to the court also requires a fee of £275 but this may be waived if you are unemployed or on a low income.