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If you’ve ever taken out a loan and not paid it back within the designated timeframe, or haven’t paid a few parking fines, there’s a high chance you’ve been issued with a county court judgement (CCJ). This court order formally recognises that you are indebted to someone and requires you to pay the money owed, either up front or over a set schedule.
No matter the amount, a CCJ is kept on the record for six years and can seriously affect your credit rating and by extension, your job prospects. Most banking firms and financial services businesses require their employees to have a pristine credit rating. Employers like to see that anyone they employ is fiscally responsible, so any indication otherwise may form a serious roadblock to receiving a job offer.
That said, if you have been issued a CCJ in the past, not all hope is lost. There are ways to approach a debt judgement to ensure it doesn’t have a long-lasting effect on your employability.
What to do if you’re issued a CCJ
As mentioned, a CCJ is a court order that’s issued when you go into debt and cannot pay the creditor. It generally covers consumer debt (credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and loans) and will set out how much you owe, how the money should be paid, the deadline and who to pay.
A CCJ will usually arrive in the post, giving you 14 days to respond and a chance to present your side of the argument. At this juncture, you’ll be able to submit any evidence that could dispute the claim or make a counter-claim against the individual or company that has made the initial submission.
If the judge rules against you, you’ll have two options: pay the amount owed in full once the judgement is processed, as well as any interest and court fees, or organise a schedule of payments in installments. If you choose the latter, a repayment amount will be calculated based on the information you provide about your income and expenses.
Ideally, the best way to ensure no professional repercussions is to pay off the full amount in a month. This means the CCJ will be removed from the register. If this isn’t possible, the next best option is to pay the debt off in full after a month, resulting in a Certificate of Satisfaction being issued.
The only way to remove a CCJ without paying in full is to prove you don’t owe the money. In this case, you can ask the court to set aside the judgement.
How to approach a CCJ in the job hunt
If you have previously had a CCJ or are paying one off, it’s important to be upfront with your recruitment consultant from the outset. Any record of the infringement will appear in a credit check, so being honest about your situation at the start of your job hunt will only reflect positively on you.
Most finance firms would prefer to know of any outstanding compliance issues at the time of receiving your CV, instead of going through the entire interview process and then finding out.
As and when you register with a recruitment agency, it is best to declare the CCJ, explain when and how it was issued, the reason behind it and the outcome. This could be confirmation that it is all cleared and paid off, in which case you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction. Alternatively, if the CCJ is still pending, we will require documentation as evidence of your payment plan.
At the end of the day, when it comes to working in financial services, avoiding debt wherever possible is the best-case scenario. In cases where this is not possible, acting honestly and with integrity will go a long way in ensuring professional success.
If you’re looking for your next role in financial services, or on the hunt for new staff, Tiger can help. Get in touch today.