§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What it proposes to do about the spread of advertisements by credit repair agencies which purport to be able to have county court judgments removed from the register.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
I am deeply concerned that consumers should think carefully before paying any fees for such a service. The procedtfres for having entries removed from the register are described in the leaflet sent to defendants on entry of judgment; they are quite simple and can be followed easily and cheaply by defendants themselves. However, the circumstances in which entries can he deleted from the register are limited. Almost all judgments are registered on entry of judgment (the major exception being where judgment is given at a contested hearing which the losing party attended and at which he did not ask for time to pay). Most entries then stay on the register for six years, even where payment has been made; they can only be removed where the defendant provides proof that the debt was paid within one month of judgment, where the court, through administrative error, has wrongly registered the judgment, or where the defendant makes a successful application to have the judgment "set aside". But the court will not set the judgment aside simply because the debt has been paid subsequently; a judgment will usually only be set aside on the grounds that there is a defence to the claim which ought to be heard. Officials in my department have already taken steps to warn the courts to be alert for potential abuses of this procedure and are also in contact with the Office of Fair Trading which is considering whether it would be appropriate to use any of its powers against these companies.