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Continuing with our reflections, this week, we look back to a blog where we reviewed the unexpected impacts of lockdown on judgment levels.

We looked at judgment data in the months where lockdown was the strictest, the months of March, April and May. In doing so, an interesting pattern emerged. Over the period there was a reduction in the number of judgments being imported onto the register. We believe this was an effect of both the protective measures put in place by the government and regulators, and the partial shutdown of the court service.

But our analysis into the months of lockdown through the lens of judgments revealed an interesting trend for satisfactions. During the weeks of lockdown, there were times when there were more satisfactions were imported onto the register than judgments, something never seen before. Due to the drop of in judgment levels, satisfactions in the last quarter accounted for 37% of all transactions processed, compared to the usual average of 13%.

So has this trend continued? Or as restrictions have relaxed [1], has the promising trend seen with Satisfactions diminished as life opens up slightly once more?

In terms of judgment levels, there has been a modest uptake in the number of transactions processed in the second half of the time period we are considering.

Over the initial period, there were 143,853 transactions imported on to the register. This includes the first half of March where restrictions were not imposed. If we limit these months to just the period in official lockdown [2], the total of imported judgment numbers falls to 58,529. For June, July and August, there were 112,196 judgments imported. This is a 91% increase on the lockdown period. The progression is illustrated in the graphic below.

revisited all trans march aug.png

But were these Judgments or Satisfactions?

Just as a quick reminder, satisfaction refers to the process of paying a monetary court judgment in full, more than one calendar month from the date of judgment. Satisfactions are only registered when proof of payment is supplied to the courts or Registry Trust. This is a crucial way of improving your access to reputable lenders in the future. A judgment, on the other hand, is an outstanding, unpaid account of money owed.

When we look over the whole period from March to August 2020, we can see it is the middle period where we see the changing relationship between judgments and satisfactions. It is also increasingly obvious, that this is an effect of judgments falling whilst satisfaction levels stay consistent.

revisited jg ss march aug.png

Despite there not being a marked increase in the number of satisfactions, the general trend where judgment and satisfaction levels sit at relatively similar points is something out of the norm. As you can see by the graphs below, which compare June-Aug 2020 to 2019, demonstrate the standard disparity we see between the two different transactions.

revisited jg ss june aug 2020.png

revisited jg ss june aug 2019.png

With a closing of the gap between judgments and satisfactions, now is the moment to push for greater awareness for #GetSatisfaction. We anticipate an uptake in the number of judgments, as the protective measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic cease, but we aim to increase awareness of and recording of satisfactions, as part of our drive to provide Public Data for the Public Good.

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[1] For the purposes of this blog, the time period we will be looking at is June, July and August 2020, compared to the three months prior when lockdown was at its peak (March, April and May 2020), and the same months in 2019.

[2] From week beginning 23rd March 2020.