Note: The following information applies only to England and Wales. Scotland has different regulations.
Debt becomes statute-barred if the creditor delays too long in taking action to recover it. Statute-barred debt means that the creditor cannot recover the debt through legal means. In practice, this means that the debt is written off, although it still exists “physically,” and the creditor may pursue other collection actions. The statute of limitations for debt depends on its type.
After how much time does debt become statute-barred?
Most types of debts in England and Wales become statute-barred after 6 years. This applies to debts such as credit cards or store cards, personal loans, arrears for gas or electricity, council tax arrears, overpaid benefits, payday loans, rent arrears, purchases from mail-order catalogues, or overdrafts.
However, there are some exceptions:
· Debts arising from a mortgage become statute-barred after 12 years (loan capital), while interest on such a loan becomes statute-barred after 6 years.
· Debts arising from personal injury compensation become statute-barred after 3 years.
· Debts due to income tax, VAT, and capital gains tax to HM Revenue & Customs never become statute-barred. This means that HMRC can take legal action against us for these debts, even if they arose many years ago.
All the above information applies to cases where the creditor has not taken legal action within 6 years from the date of the debt’s creation to recover the debt.
If the creditor files a County Court Judgment (CCJ) application in court, the limitation period is interrupted.
CCJs never become statute-barred. The creditor can pursue their claims arising from CCJs for 6 years. After this period, they must apply to the court for permission to continue debt recovery. If granted, they can still pursue their claims.

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