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The number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland consumers in 2020 was 3,207, a fall of 52 percent compared to the 6,649 registered in 2019, according to figures released today (08.01.2021) by Registry Trust.

The total value of consumer judgment debt owed in 2020 also fell by just over half (54%) compared to last year, from £17.4 million to just under £8 million. The average value of consumer judgments fell slightly by four percent, from £2,612 to £2,485. The median value rose by over 18 percent from £862 to £1,021.

The period also saw the number of judgments against businesses fall by 59 percent, from 1,308 to 539. The total value of judgments against businesses also fell, by 29 percent from £3,203,652 to £2,279,151. The average value of business judgments rose steeply, from £2,449 to £4,228, up 73 percent. The story of 2020 is one of many fewer, but larger judgments.

But, following huge falls in the first half of the year, numbers are rising again. The total number of judgments rose by 16 percent in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020.

Registry Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “The latest Registry Trust data shows that Government and regulatory interventions, and forbearance by creditors, in response to the Covd-19 economic crisis have protected Northern Irish consumers. But, the signs are that the respite may be short lived as the numbers of debt judgments have risen sharply in the second half of the year.”

Half Year 2019 Half Year 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Judgments against consumers
volume 6,649 3,207 -51.77%
total value £17,375,729 £7,968,364 -54.14%
average* value £2,612 £2,485 -4.29%
median value £862 £1,021 18.45%
Judgments against all businesses
volume 1,308 539 -58.79%
total value £3,203,652 £2,279,151 -28.86%
average* value £2,449 £4,228 72.64%
median value £837 £1,390 66.07%
Judgments against incorporated businesses
volume 1,144 419 -63.37%
total value £2,978,317 £1,894,406 -36.39%
average* value £2,603 £4,521 73.67%
median value £837 £1,390 66.07%
Judgments against unincorporated businesses
volume 164 120 -26.83%
total value £225,335 £384,745 70.74%
average* value £1,374 £3,206 133.35%
median value £833 £1,250 50.15%
volume 234 231 -1.28%
total value £568,510 £702,089 23.50%
average* value £2,430 £3,039 56.42%
median value £837 £938 12.07%

0207 391 7287

Notes for editors

Registry Trust is a non-profit company established in 1985. Registry Trust holds a public register of Northern Ireland judgments. It collects details of undefended default, small claims and High Court judgments directly from the Northern Ireland Courts Service with their agreement.

Judgments can be removed from the register if paid in full within one calendar month of the issue date and Registry Trust is informed, but will otherwise remain registered for six years. If fully paid outside the one calendar month, the defendant can apply to have the judgment marked as ‘satisfied’.

To have a paid judgment marked as satisfied, defendants need to send evidence of payment to Registry Trust. The written evidence, which will be available from the claimant or the claimant’s solicitor, should include: the case number, the judgment’s date, amount, and the date when the debt was repaid in full. Defendants should add confirmation of their name and address at the date of the judgment and send it to: Registry Trust, 153–157 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 6QW. An administration fee of £6.00 is payable for each named person or business at a specified address or limited company name. Cheques should be made out to: Registry Trust Ltd.

Anyone may search for entries against a named person or business at a stated address or a corporate body in the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland by visiting Registry Trust’s website or by writing to Registry Trust, 153–157 Cleveland Street, London W1T 6QW.