Tara Jones, Trainee Solicitor at Frettens, provides her top tips for students looking to apply for legal placements and describes her own experience as a placement student.
What is a default judgment?
A Default Judgment, also known as a CCJ, is entered by the court when a county court claim is issued and the Defendant does not respond to the claim.
There may be a number of reasons why a Defendant does not respond to a claim. For example they may think that by ignoring it, it will go away (it will not!). However, sometimes a Defendant may be completely unaware that a claim has been issued against them, particularly if they have moved address.
Claim form served at wrong address
Under the court rules, a court claim must be served on someone’s “usual residence.” However, if the Claimant does not know where the Defendant is currently living, they may serve the claim at their “last known residence” if they have taken steps to ascertain where the Defendant is currently living and have not managed to ascertain an alternative place or method for service.
This is particularly pertinent for those who move around from one address to another. Often, the first time that a Defendant is aware of a Default Judgment is when it shows on their credit score when they are applying for credit.
If you would like to read Anna's full article on CCJs being served at the wrong address please click here.
Can I get a CCJ set aside?
You can make an application to the court to set aside a Default Judgment or CCJ but you will need to show the court why you did not receive the claim when it was issued and either that you have a real prospect of successfully defending the claim or that there is some other good reason why the judgment should be set aside.
If the court accepts the application to set aside, the claim will proceed through the courts as a defended claim. If the application to set aside the Judgment is unsuccessful then there may be costs consequences against the Defendant making the application.
What happens when a CCJ is issued against you?
When a Default Judgment is entered by the court it will then be recorded on the Register of Judgments which is held by the Registry Trust Limited. It will remain on the Register for 6 years.
How do you get a CCJ removed?
Unless a successful application has been made to set aside a CCJ, the Judgment will remain on the Register of Judgments for 6 years. It can only be removed if it is paid in full within one month of being granted. You can then apply to have it removed from the register.
If the Judgment is paid after one month, you can apply for a certificate of satisfaction from the court and the judgment will then be marked as “satisfied” but will remain on the Register until the 6 years has expired.
Does a CCJ affect your credit score?
Yes. Once Judgments have been paid (and unless they were paid within 30 days of being granted) they will remain on the register for 6 years and will be visible to any organisation undertaking a credit check on an individual.
Solicitors to remove a CCJ – Bournemouth, Christchurch & Ringwood
It is imperative that if you become aware of a court Judgment in your name you seek legal advice as soon as possible. The longer the delay between the date of the Judgment and the application to set it aside the lower the chances of success in setting it aside.
The typical costs in CCJ matters can be between £750 and £1500 plus vat.
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