Registry Trust, the non-profit organisation which maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines for the UK & Ireland, has been campaigning for several years to increase understanding and awareness of the County Court Judgment (CCJ) process to ensure that consumers are aware of the need to ‘get satisfaction’. This is part of our commitment to use our ‘public data for public good’ and comes from a trend we’ve seen in recent years of declining ‘satisfaction’ of CCJs on the Register. There are many reasons why CCJ debts may not be formally ‘satisfied’, the main one being inability to pay, but in cases where the debt has been settled and the defendant is simply unaware that they then need to seek ‘satisfaction’ by providing proof of payment to the court (a step which many are still uninformed about), consumers are needlessly being made more financial vulnerable due to the outstanding CCJ impacting their credit score amongst other things.
Unfortunately, only around 52% of CCJ records contain a date-of-birth, as providing a date of birth is not currently a requirement, but from the 52% that do, we can assess at what rate different age groups are getting judgments ‘satisfied’. In my latest analysis of our judgment data, I have spotted that there is an increasing proportion of unsatisfied CCJs amongst the under 25s.
Note: The yearly time-frames in the analysis below are taken as a year from the date that the data was extracted. For example, from 2 November 2015 to 2 November 2016.
The chart below shows there are currently 68,307 outstanding CCJs registered for defendants aged under 25 and only 5,029 ‘satisfied’ CCJ registered for the age group. For defendants aged over 25, there are 2.6 million outstanding CCJs and 321,309 satisfied CCJs.
The number of CCJs for under 25’s has increased annually, reaching 26,713 CCJs in 2020-2021. 2019-2020 was an exception to this annual increase (due to the onset of the pandemic and partial closure of courts/implementation of forbearance measures), which totalled just 15,817 CCJs.
The number of satisfactions for individuals under the age of 25 gradually increased year-on-year until 2018-2019, where the total peaked at 2,008 satisfactions. Satisfactions then decreased to 1,114 in 2019-2020, and to just 536 in 2020-2021. When looking at the number of CCJs and satisfactions, satisfactions comprised of just 2% of the total, compared to 15% four years earlier in 2016-2017.
The trend is similar for CCJs registered for individuals aged 25 and over, particularly for years 2017 through to 2021 where the percentage of satisfactions is the same for both under and over 25s (see chart below).
However, the percentage of satisfactions for individuals aged 25 and over was higher in years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, at 19% and 16%, compared to 14% and 15% for under 25s. This highlights the generally lower satisfaction rate among younger defendants, which could be addressed through better financial education and support.
The graphs below visualise the numbers in the chart above. Under 25s and over 25s follow a similar pattern. The most important element is the yellow line, the ‘% satisfactions as a total of transactions’. The general pattern of decline for both age categories is alarming in terms of the impact on financial wellbeing.
This week is ‘Talk Money Week’ and we’re calling on key stakeholders across the debt advice and other sectors to help us to get people talking about, understanding, and properly dealing with CCJs, particularly those under the age of 25. Find out more here.
We also work with a range of organisations to utilise our data to help support those in debt. Find out more in our e-brochure here.
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