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The number of decrees and total amount of debt registered against Scottish consumers fell sharply in 2020 compared to 2019, according to figures released today (08.01.2021) by Registry Trust.

The number of decrees fell by 31 percent from 19,153 to 13,308. The total value fell from £49.6 million to £37.2 million, a fall of 25 percent compared to last year. The average value of decrees rose by eight percent from £2,591 to £2,795, with the median value rising three percent from £1,401 to £1,451.

The number of decrees against Scottish businesses also fell, by 28 percent, from 2,804 to 1,996. The total value fell 24 percent from nearly £16 million to just over £12 million. The average value rose by six percent from £5,692 to £6,057.

Decrees against larger firms fell by 25 percent, from 2,241 to 1,687. The total value fell 30 percent, from £13.2 million to £9.3 million, with the average value down seven percent, from £5,929 to £5,518. Decrees against smaller businesses fell 45 percent from 563 to 309, with the total value up four percent from £2.7 million to £2.8 million, and the average value up 89 percent from £4,749 to £8,998.

But, following huge falls in the first half of the year, numbers are rising again. The total number of judgments rose by 17 percent in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020.

Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors, helped Scottish consumers and businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. But, as feared, the rise in decrees suggests the economic effects of the pandemic are working their way through the system.”

Half Year 2019 Half Year 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Decrees against consumers
volume 19,153 13,308 -30.52%
total value £49,633,181 £37,197,815 -25.05%
average* value £2,591 £2,795 7.86%
median value £1,401 £1,451 3.31%
Decrees against all businesses
volume 2,804 1,996 -28.82%
total value £15,960,307 £12,089,719 -24.25%
average* value £5,692 £6,057 6.41%
median value £1,558 £1,560 0.16%
Decrees against incorporated businesses
volume 2,241 1,687 -24.72%
total value £13,286,631 £9,309,395 -29.93%
average* value £5,929 £5,518 -6.92%
median value £1,500 £1,504 0.27%
Decrees against unincorporated businesses
volume 563 309 -45.12%
total value £2,673,676 £2,780,324 3.99%
average* value £4,749 £8,998 89.47%
median value £1,944 £1,800 -7.41%
volume 921 1,212 31.60%
total value £4,042,485 £4,162,166 2.47%
average* value £4,389 £3,418 -22.14%
median value £1,339 £1,269 -5.27%

For more information please contact

0207 391 7287

Notes for editors

Registry Trust is a non-profit company established in 1985 to become the Registrar of County Court Judgments. Registry Trust holds a public register of Scottish decrees. By agreement with the Scottish Courts Administration Service it collects details of undefended money decrees entered in the small claims, summary and ordinary cause sheriffs’ courts in Scotland.

Decrees are 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, defendants can apply to Registry Trust to have the record marked as ‘satisfied’ to improve their credit rating.

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.

To view the full set of statistics, visit