Quarter 1 2020
312,084 new judgments were processed in Q1 2020 with a total value of £649,801,694
During the period between 1 January 2020 and 31 March 2020, 97% of judgments came from courts in England and Wales.
The median value for judgments this quarter was £790, while the average was £2,082, a 20% and 16% year on year increase, respectively.
Lets have a look at the most interesting trends from each region.
England and Wales
For consumer judgments in England and Wales, December usually sees the biggest slump in judgment numbers which is swiftly followed by a large uptake in the January following and maintained by the first quarter as a whole. Further, it is stereotypical of judgments to peak and trough throughout the year, where Q1 and Q3 see highs and Q2 and Q4 the lows.
However, this was not the case at the beginning of 2020. Consumers in England and Wales saw a record low number of judgments imported to the register in Q1 2020.
January 2020 levels were below those of November 2019 – and were the lowest levels for January since 2016. The January 2020 numbers are 33% lower than the same month in 2019.
Our Chairman, Mick McAteer commented on this saying: “After record numbers of consumer CCJs in 2019, it is encouraging to see numbers decline sharply. Interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors, in response to Covd19 crisis means we will see another major fall in numbers next quarter. But, the damage to household finances will show up later”.
For consumers in Scotland, the amount of debt owed has been creeping up. A steady increase over the last 15 months has resulted in an overall increase of 20%, where the average quarter by quarter increase was 5%.
Despite both the number and total value of judgments rising, the latter has risen by 17 percent points more. This therefore suggest there has been an increase in the number of high value decrees. This is evidenced by the graph on the right. There has been a 4 point increase in the number of decrees greater than £3,000 whilst judgments under £500 have fallen 5% year on year.
Northern Irish businesses have seen a gradual increase in average and median judgment value over the last 15 months.
All medians and average values have risen sharply for incorporated and unincorporated businesses, with an average year on year rise of 70%.
Therefore, despite falls in the number of business judgments received from Northern Irish courts, the values of those still being issued are rising.
This begs the question as to whether people are losing interest in taking out judgments with smaller value as the cost-benefit is diminishing.
Republic of Ireland
Satisfaction rates in the Republic of Ireland are worrying. In Quarter 1 of 2020 there was only one satisfaction processed compared to 817 judgments received.
This is particularly concerning as, like we reported in our last statistics book, quarter 1 in the Republic of Ireland was seen as the quarter which satisfactions peaked over the last few years.
The one satisfaction registered was corporate judgment for over €10,000 initially issued in November last year..
Jersey judgments pose an interesting story this quarter. While average value fell, median value increased.
Digging a little deeper into the spread of amounts for the quarter, it is clear that there has been a large increase in the number of low value judgments (judgments below £100 increase 106%). All the while, the £100 to £500 category remained the absolute largest and therefore where the median lies, and the slight rise in number of judgments explains its slight increase (%).
However, at the other end, there has been a 16% increase in the number of judgments above £3000, but this is accompanied by a 35% fall in the number of judgments between £2000 and £3000. Therefore, as there has also been a drop in the average values of these categories, the overall average value falls too.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man issues the smallest amount of judgments out of all the jurisdictions. However, it consistently has the highest satisfaction rates out of any of the areas.
Quarter 1 of 2020 saw almost half of transactions in the Isle of Man being satisfactions.
Satisfactions appear to follow the same distribution as judgments in the amount categories. Further, for transactions between £100-£500 and £1,000-£1,500 the number of satisfactions were greater than the number of judgments imported.
Highest density of judgments is often seen to peak in urban areas, as highlighted by these maps. This is generally due to the higher populations but also the greater concentration of businesses. However, it seems that these areas usually see some of the lowest median values of judgment. Instead, the higher value judgments are seen in more rural areas such as the Highlands of Scotland or the South of Northern Ireland.
England and Wales
And that sums up Quarter 1 2020! Quite the quarter with lots happening in the different regions.
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