MoJ threatens crackdown on use of CCJs
The MoJ is hosting private roundtables with advice agencies to decide what action it might take on creditors’ use of county court judgements
The roundtables are being held as a precursor to a consultation on CCJs. The consultation will consider how the current system for using debt claims can be improved and reinforced to ensure companies “take all reasonable steps” before creditors apply to court.
The action comes after The Daily Mail splashed with a front page story, late last year, on companies issuing thousands of CCJs to incorrect addresses.
The MoJ now wants to look at the impact on consumers when they’re unware of debt judgments made against them, due to the fact that CCJs are sent to wrong or old addresses. As some of these debts are subsequently left unresolved, the department wants to assess how these unsettled claims damage consumers’ credit ratings.
Sir Oliver Heald, minister of state at the MoJ, said a consultation and information campaign will be produced to help protect consumers.
He added: “In the digital age, we must ensure companies pursuing unpaid debts make every reasonable effort to contact individuals, rather than simply relying on a letter to an old address.
“It cannot be right that people who are unaware of debts can see their lives and finances ruined by county court judgments.”
The justice minister will examine to what extent “unscrupulous” debt collection agencies have contributed to the problem.
The MoJ will look at ways to protect people’s credit scores if they resolve outstanding debts quickly.
It will also look at ways to better protect consumers who are sent mail to inaccurate addresses and verify addresses again before a claim is sent.
The MoJ said the Department for Communities and Local Government will be taking further steps in due course to tackle poor practice by private parking companies.