County Court Judgements Consultation
Overall, we welcome steps to make people more aware of their responsibilities to notify creditors of their new address. As the consultation document correctly states, the considerable move to electronic communications that has taken place in recent years means that this is something often overlooked, and we feel that there could be many benefits of making people more aware of this.
We have nothing further to add to the list of messages set out in the consultation document on this subject.
Policy proposal for removing an entry from the Register of Fines, Orders and Judgments (Questions 6 &7)
We have no objections to steps being taken to address genuine cases where people are unaware of County Court Judgements in their names. Given that there is already a mechanism to have judgements removed when an individual is genuinely unaware of it and wishes to challenge it, yet not when an individual was genuinely unaware and wishes to settle their debt, as creditors we can see that this is a reasonable step to take.
However, several of our members have noted the possibility of a system being open to abuse. The credit union sector is especially aware of the need to ensure credit files are accurate, to enable fair and responsible lending, and we hope that any changes will prevent debtors being able to deliberately delay payment, yet subsequently have the CCJ removed from their credit file.
In relation to question 7 specifically, we note that the current system enables a judge to remove a CCJ when the individual challenges it, even if outwith the usual timeframes, based on the following criteria:
- The defendant can prove they gave the creditor their new address.
- The claim was not made following the Rules, for example, the papers were not sent to neither their usual or last known address; or
- The post office returned the claim papers as they were not able to deliver them (for example if the address does not exist).
It would therefore seem reasonable that the same criteria can be applied to those cases where the judgement is not being challenged, but the debts are settled based on the fact that the debtor had not previously been aware of the CCJ.