What Happens When You Get A Decree or CCJ in Scotland?
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, when a creditor seeks forcible repayment of debts, they can ask for a court order called a County Court Judgment (CCJ) to be issued against you. The CCJ is a court-mandated ruling that you must pay back your debt.
In Scotland, however, we don’t issue CCJs. Instead, the sheriff court issues a money judgement called a Scottish Court Decree (SCD), which is the CCJ Scotland equivalent. There are different regulations surrounding CCJs and decrees so, if you’re based in Scotland, it’s important to understand the laws that apply to you.
In this article, we’ll talk in more depth about the CCJ Scotland equivalent, the Scottish court decree. We’ll discuss what it is, what happens when you’re issued with one, whether you can appeal to have it removed and what happens if you ignore it.
What is a CCJ in Scotland?
A CCJ in Scotland, the Scottish Court Decree, is a money judgment which signals that your debt is mounting and needs your direct, immediate attention.
If you have failed to repay your debts and your creditor has been unable to arrange a repayment plan with you, the decree helps them to reclaim the money owed to them quickly.
When a creditor takes court action against you and secures a court order (the decree), it means that the court has been sufficiently convinced that you are not meeting your repayment obligations. The creditor has reached a point where they believe that they can only retrieve the remaining debt balance through force.
What happens when you get a CCJ in Scotland?
When you receive a decree / CCJ in Scotland, details of the decree will be sent to the Registry Trust. The Registry Trust is a public register where money decrees – including those for simple procedure, small claims, and summary cause – are recorded.
After the Registry Trust receives this information, they pass it on to the Credit Reference Agencies who will update your credit file to list the issue of the decree. The listing will remain on your credit report for 6 years from the original judgment date and your credit rating will be damaged, affecting your ability to get a credit card, mortgage, or open a bank account.
You have a short time-frame to influence the terms of the decree to work favourably for you. From the date the decree was issued, you usually have 21 days to apply to pay in instalments rather than a single lump sum.
If your total debt amounts to less than £5,000, you can apply for a “time to pay”. We advise that you seek guidance from a debt advice expert when filling out the application. If your application is accepted, the court will issue a “decision with an order for time to pay” or a “decree with a time to pay direction”. The creditor may not agree to the time to pay request in which case you will be expected to pay it all back at once.
If you fail to apply for a time to pay by your deadline, you’ll receive a decision or decree asking for the full amount to be paid.
What happens if I ignore a CCJ in Scotland?
If you ignore the CCJ, your creditor can start diligence.
Firstly, you should receive a “charge to pay” (if your debts total up to £5,000) or a “charge for payments” (if your debts come to more than £5,000). You’ll have 14 days to make the payments before further action is taken.
Where you are unable to pay the debts in full by the deadline, the creditor can apply for more extreme measures to recover the debt you owe. They can take legal action to:
- Execute an Attachment of Earnings Order.
- Arrest funds from your bank account or building society account.
- Execute an Attachment of Property or Exceptional Attachment Order to remove possessions from inside and outside of the home.
Can I get a CCJ removed in Scotland?
Generally, you cannot have the CCJ/Scottish decree removed from the Register of Judgments or your credit record unless:
- You can prove that it was issued in error.
- You paid the debt in full within one calendar month of the decree issue date.
- The creditor did not follow the correct procedure to issue it.
If you believe that it was issued in error or you have paid the debt in full within one calendar month of the decree issue date, you can appeal to the court to have the decree “set aside”.
You should speak to a debt expert to help you through this process as you’ll need concrete evidence that this is the case. This could include evidence like letters from the creditor/their solicitors confirming the balance was paid.
The alternative is to prove that the creditor did not follow the correct procedure for the issue of the decree. You can speak to a debt advisor to see if you have a case here.
For example, if your debt is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act (1974), then your creditor must send you a default notice and give you 14 days to reply before they are allowed to take court action. They must also issue you with a Debt Advice and Information Package (DAIP) before you can be forced to pay the debt.
How do I satisfy a CCJ in Scotland?
The decree will be marked on your credit report as “Satisfied” if you have completely paid off the debt.
If you cannot have the decree removed, you can improve your credit score and prospects by satisfying your decree. Some creditors will still lend to individuals with CCJs but if it is marked as unsatisfied, many will reject you. This is not set in stone for all lenders but if you’re able to pay off the debt, it can give you some peace of mind.
To ensure that the CCJ is marked as satisfied, you will need to get a letter of satisfaction from the creditor or their solicitor which explains that it has been paid. The letter should include:
- The court name and case number.
- The date the decree was issued.
- The amount due.
- The date that the decree was completely repaid.
When you have this letter, you’ll need to send it to the Registry Trust with an administration fee and confirmation of your name and address at the time of the decree.
Need help with your Scottish Court Decree?
If you have been issued with a Scottish Court Decree, it’s important to act quickly. If you cannot make the payments and fail to make arrangements with the court and your creditors in a timely manner, you could face harsh legal action to forcibly reclaim the debt you owe.
Seeking professional advice from debt experts is critical at this time. Here at Scottish Debt Experts, we can help you navigate the process of dealing with your court decree.
You can reach us by phone on 0141 483 7477 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and we’ll always arrange a call back within 24 hours. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t struggle alone – our doors are open.