Statute Barred

Statute Barred Debt: Things you need to know!

Although it’s not a common occurrence, a statute barred debt is something you should keep in mind.

While there is general agreement that most obligations become statute barred after a certain length of time, some periods can differ based on the sort of debt and where you reside.

Everything you need to know and how it works, today.

What is Statute-Barred Debt?

If your creditor does not take any action to recover their debt from you within a certain period of time, then your debt becomes statute-barred.

This means that your creditor is prohibited from taking legal action against you regarding your debt.

Even though your debt still technically exists, it becomes unenforceable.

As I previously stated, the time it takes for a debt to become unenforceable is determined by the sort of debt and where you are in the United Kingdom.

The Limitation Period is the time period used to determine whether or not a debt has become unenforceable.

How Do I Know if My Debt is Statute?

You can determine if your debt has become statute by determining whether or not the limitation period has expired for it. The limitation period is the time frame in which a creditor may attempt to collect their debt from you after attempting any sort of action.

The limitation period for most sorts of obligations is six years. For some debts, it’s twelve years, like mortgage shortfalls.

Keep in mind that a debt cannot become unenforceable if a CCJ has been taken out against it.

The term “limitation period” is often misinterpreted owing to the fact that many individuals are unaware of when it begins and how it may be reset.

Under the UK Statute of Limitations Act 1980, the limitation period begins from the date of the ’cause of action’. Since this date is not always constant for different types of debt, be sure to do your research.

The cause of action for simple unsecured credit obligations, such as credit cards or personal loans, is usually triggered when your agreement gives the creditor the right to go to court against you.

For certain credit agreements, this may be after you have received a default notice and that default notice has expired.

Once your limitation period starts, it will be six years until your unsecured debt becomes statutorily barred.

Remember that your expiration date can be extended. It will continue without being lengthened if:

  • You or anyone else owing the debt (in the case of a joint debt) has not made any payments to your creditor.
  • You have not made any kind of written acknowledgement towards your debt.
  • Your creditor has not taken court action against you, e.g., a County Court Judgment (CCJ).

If you believe that all of the above circumstances apply to you and that they have been true for six years after course of action, then your debt is statute-barred.

If your creditor contacts you after six years to recoup their money from you, you can challenge their assertion and claim that they do not have the authority because the debt has become unenforceable.

Remember that you are not required to prove to your creditor that the debt has become statute-barred. Your creditors must show evidence that the debt is NOT statute-barred instead.

You’ll also have to provide evidence of any payments you’ve made in the last six years, such as a payment receipt or a letter stating that you made any purchases during that time period.

They might even attempt to show that the action was taken less than six years ago.

If the limitation period has not passed six years, you may have to make payments towards your debt.

However, if they are unable to, it will become unenforceable.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Consumer Credit Sourcebook lays out the standards for fair debt collection.

How Long Before an Unpaid Debt is Written Off?

This varies greatly depending on what type of debt it is.

After six years, most unsecured debts including council tax arrears and credit debts become unenforceable, but a mortgage loan does not become unenforceable until after 12.

What is the Limitation Act 1980?

The Statute of Limitations or Limitation Act of 1980 is a piece of legislation that sets forth the deadlines that creditors must follow when attempting to collect debts. It offers details on what sort of conduct should be expected from all sorts of debt and various possibilities for scenario.

What Happens to Debt when You Go to Jail?

If you’re facing jail time, it’s important to get your finances in order. This is because your debts don’t disappear if you go to prison. If you don’t address them before going to jail, they may become an even bigger problem when you’re released.

If you’re sure you’ll be sent to prison in the future, I suggest contacting your creditors and asking for a payment break or some other form of relief.

What is a Default Notice?

If you break the terms of your credit agreement by not making payments, for example, then your creditor has the right to take legal action against you according to the Consumer Credit Act of 1974.

Before taking any action, your creditor is required to send you a notice known as the Default Notice. This notice will include information about how you have breached your agreement and what actions the creditor is considering, such as legal action or termination of your agreement. You are usually given a period of 14 days to figure out your next steps. Paying off any outstanding debts typically stops creditors from taking further action against you.

Although it may not be feasible to repay what you owe immediately, don’t avoid your creditors. Maintaining an open line of communication is key and letting them know about your circumstances honestly will help build a rapport.

I’ve Accidentally Made a Payment to a Statute-Barred Debt. Does this Mean it has Become Enforceable Again?

Great news- once a debt is statute-barred, it cannot be resurrected. So if you want to make payments on the debt, go ahead, but know that making a payment does NOT bring the debt back to life for enforcement purposes.

When does a Statute-Barred Debt Get Removed from My Credit File?

As I stated previously, after a six-year period since the Default Notice, most kinds of debts are statute barred. The mention of your loans is also removed from your credit report following a six-year period since you defaulted on them. As a result, if you receive a notice, it will be recorded in your credit history. If your creditor takes no action regarding that debt for 6 years, your debt will become unenforceable and be expunged from your credit file at the same time.

What Should I Do if a Creditor is Contacting Me Regarding Such a Debt?

If you have come to the conclusion that a debt is unenforceable, then it would be in your best interest to write a letter addressed to your creditor. In this letter, make it crystal clear that you “don’t accept any liability for this debt” and that you also “don’t intend to make payments towards it”.

What are Some Actions that a Creditor can Take After My Debt is Statute-Barred?

As previously said, when a debt becomes unenforceable, it cannot be refreshed even if you make a payment toward it. The FCA has declared that pursuing statutes-barred debts is unreasonable. As a result, if your creditor has been unable to show evidence that the claim hasn’t been disputed and that the debt is still enforceable, they should cease contacting you.

This is true for most sorts of unsecured debt, such as credit cards, payday loans, personal loans, catalogs, and so on.

Note that this only applies to agencies and creditors regulated by the FCA. If your creditor isn’t regulated, they may still be able to take some actions depending on where you live in the UK.

Even if your debt is declared unenforceable in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, it still technically exists. A debt becoming unenforceable means that your creditor cannot file a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against you and will also be unable to urge you to declare bankruptcy. They might nevertheless contact you seeking payment if they are not regulated by the FCA. Some creditors can take legal action to collect their debts from you without having to go to court.


Although it’s not a frequent occurence, it’s crucial that you understand of how a debt becomes statute-barred so you don’t end up paying for debts you’re no longer held accountable for.

Here at Become Debt Free, we are ready to listen to your debt problems and your unique situation to be able to advise on what range of solutions are available to you whether that be a debt solution such as a Debt Relief OrderBankruptcy, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or a Debt Management Plan. It could also be as simple as helping you to take full stock of your monthly budget and monthly bills to helping you manage your debt and manage money more positively and practically

.Call us on 0113 237 9500 or complete the online form and one of our professional and friendly advisors will call you back at a time to suit you.

Proud to Support

Supporting Shelter, image proudly supporting shelter
Supporting Mind, image Supporting Mind Logo
Living Wage Employer, image Living Wage Employer logo
Become Debt Free

Contact Us

Tel: 0113 237 9500

Re10 (Finance) Ltd, York House Unit 4, Gemini Business Park, Sheepscar Way, Leeds, LS7 3JB
Insolvency Practitioner, image words The Insolvency Service
R3 Business Accreditation, Image R3 Business Accreditation logo
Insolvency Practitioners Association Accreditation, image insolvency practioners association logo

Customers can get free debt advice from the Money Advice Service – an organisation set up by the Government to offer free and impartial advice to those in debt. For more information from the Money Advice Service visit MAS is part of the Money & Pensions Service. We are not affiliated with MAS in any way.

Become Debt Free is a trading style of Re10 (Finance) Limited Registered Number 04651137.  Data Protection Act Registration Number – Z8613095

Become Debt Free specialise in providing and administering Individual Voluntary Arrangement (“IVA”) solutions to individuals based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We do not administer Debt Management Plans, Debt Relief Orders, or any other debt solutions.  We only provide advice after completing or receiving an initial fact find where the individual(s) concerned meets the criteria for an IVA, therefore, all advice is given in reasonable contemplation of an insolvency appointment.

* To qualify for debt write off in an IVA with us, you must have a minimum of £7,000 of qualifying unsecured debt owed to two or more creditors.  The amount of debt write off is based on your own personal circumstances – typically this could be up to 85% of what you owe; and this has been achieved by over 10% of our customers who have successfully completed their IVA’s in the last 12 months.  The amount of debt write off differs for each customer and is dependent upon their individual financial circumstances and subject to the approval of their creditors.

Andrew Bowers is authorised in the UK to act as Insolvency Practitioner by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.


Scroll to Top