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The number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland consumers in the fourth quarter of 2020 was just 699, a huge fall of nearly 60 percent compared to the 1,732 registered in the same quarter last year, according to figures released today (08/01/2021) by Registry Trust.

The total value of judgment debt owed in Q4 2020 fell by just over half (52%) compared to the same period last year, from £4.5 million to £2.2 million. But, the average value of consumer judgments rose by nearly 18 percent, from £2,612 last year to £3,076. The median value rose by almost two-thirds from £904 to £1,488. This suggests creditors took out fewer, larger judgments against consumers.

The period also saw the number of judgments against businesses fall by just over half (51%), from 232 to 113. However, the total value of judgments against businesses rose by nearly 20 percent from £483,903 to £578,927. The average value of business judgments rose steeply, from £2,086 to £5,123, up 146 percent. The story 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 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 started to rise.”

Half Year 2019 Half Year 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Judgments against consumers
volume 1,732 699 -59.64%
total value £4,524,308 £2,150,446 -52.47%
average* value £2,612 £3,076 17.77%
median value £904 £1,488 64.60%
Judgments against all businesses
volume 232 113 -51.29%
total value £483,903 £578,927 19.64%
average* value £2,086 £5,123 145.63%
median value £1,012 £1,799 77.77%
Judgments against incorporated businesses
volume 193 84 -56.48%
total value £416,890 £464,302 11.37%
average* value £2,160 £5,527 155.89%
median value £1,008 £1,630 61.71%
Judgments against unincorporated businesses
volume 39 29 -25.64%
total value £67,013 £114,625 71.05%
average* value £1,718 £3,953 130.03%
median value £1,198 £2,038 70.12%
volume 56 53 -5.36%
total value £160,154 £158,156 -1.25%
average* value £2,860 £2,984 4.34%
median value £1,220 £999 -18.08%

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.