Nearly one in ten (8%) say they have had a County Court Judgement (CCJ) in England or Wales or Court Decree in Scotland made against them within the last five years, according to new figures.
A CCJ is issued when an individual defaults on a debt they owe. It is recorded and sits on their credit file for six years, unless they are able to pay the listed debts within one month. Under Scottish law, lenders can apply to a sheriff court to get a decree issued against anyone who defaults on their repayments.
The equivalent of nearly four million people have had a CCJ or Court Decree in the last five years, according to the research by Debt Advisory Centre. Of these, around 9% have debts of less than £250 listed on the CCJ or Court Decree. Over 15% of those with a CCJ or Court Decree reported having debts of over £5,000 listed, with almost 9% revealing debts over £10,000.
Men were more likely than women to say that they had one (over 10% of men, compared to just over 6% of women). Young people are also more likely to have one of the judgements than those who are older. Over 18% of 18-24 year olds had a CCJ or Court Decree to their name in the last five years, compared to 2.1% of over 55s. There was also a difference regionally, with more Londoners holding CCJs in the past five years than any other region - 19.5% of Londoners said they had had a judgement granted against them during this time compared to just 3.9% in East Anglia.
Ian Williams, spokesman for Debt Advisory Centre, commented:
“It’s worrying to hear so many people say they have had a CCJ granted against them in the last few years, and to discover that young people are the most likely to have received such a judgement. “CCJs are kept in place for six years, which makes it harder to borrow from a mainstream lender during that time. To learn that one in 10 people with CCJs will be affected in this way as a result of a debt totalling £250 or less is troubling. “If someone is struggling to keep up with their repayments for any type of credit, it’s important they seek help right away so that a solution can be found before their creditor takes legal action against them. However, if they have already received a CCJ, it’s not too late to get advice and support with their debts – whether they total £250 or £25,000.”