How Long Does a Judgement Really last?

A judgement is granted when legal action is taken against you for failing to pay off your debt, or if you fail to defend your summons. A judgment will remain on your credit report for 5 years, and if left unpaid, you will be legally liable for this debt over the next 30 years, even if the credit provider decides not to further pursue the debt. What exactly is a judgment and how do you remove it from your name? 

What is a judgement?

For a credit provider to obtain a judgment against you, you will need to have defaulted on your repayments for 3 or more months. The credit provider must bring this to your attention. This is usually done through a Notice of Default (Section 129 Notice) and it can be sent via various forms of delivery including personal, electronic, and postal. 

You will then have 10 business days to pay the total outstanding amount, or defend the default. If the consumer is unable to settle the amounts owing, they can exercise their right to refer the matter to a debt counsellor such as Debt Rescue. If you choose to do nothing, the creditor may proceed to issue you with a summons after the 10 business days have passed.

A summons needs to be issued to you before a judgement can be served. A summons does not legally have to be issued in person. It can also be issued to your home address. The summons will indicate a court appearance and allow you to represent yourself. If you fail to appear in court a default judgement will be issued against you.

A court can only order a judgement against your name if you do not take steps to resolve the matter after you have been sent a Notice of Default and a summons. 

Once a judgement has been issued against you, it may be very difficult getting approved for any new credit in the future.

How do you remove a judgement from your name? 

JUnlike other court rulings, judgements can be removed from your name before the 5 year judgement period. However, if you pay the full outstanding amount before that time, the judgement will be removed from your credit report. The judgement will be removed from your name as soon as the credit bureau has received proof of payment from the credit provider or if the bureau received a valid court order rescinding the judgement. 

What if you already have a judgement against your name?

Ensure that you stick to the agreed -upon repayment schedule as issued by the court. If you can pay more than the agreed amount each month, this will help speed up the process. Once your debt has been settled in full, you’ll need to go to the court where your judgment was issued and present the court with a paid-up letter. Once the court approves the paid-up letter the judgment against your name will be removed. 

Don’t let things get to the point where a judgment has been issued. Once your creditors take action, it will be very difficult to get the legal help you need.

Get in touch with us today if you’re struggling to afford your debt. Debt Rescue offers legal debt solutions through a process called Debt Review.

Whether you have a judgement issued against you or not, we may be able to help you restructure your debt through the debt review process. Debt review is a legal debt solution that has helped over-indebted South Africans become debt-free. 

Numbers from the National Credit Regulator show that out of the 25.1 million credit-active consumers in the country, over 41% are considered impaired.

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One of our expert consultants will get in touch with you today if you’re struggling to afford your debt. 

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