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Both the number and total value of small claims and High Court judgments in Northern Ireland have decreased in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released today (July 18) by Registry Trust.

In the first six months of 2019 there were 3,721 defaults and small claims judgments. This is a 19 percent decrease compared to HY1 2018 figures. The total value fell by 16 percent to £7.8million, though the average value increased by four percent to £2,094.

Record lows can be seen in the number and total value of High Court judgments in Northern Ireland during the first half of 2019. There were 30 High Court judgments, five fewer than in HY1 2018. The total value of judgments in the High Court fell by 19 percent to £2.3 million and the average value decreased by five percent to £77,935.

The total value of judgments in the first half of the year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £10.1m compared with £12.2m in HY1 2018.

During the first six months of 2019, 3.33 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This is an increase from last year despite the volume of judgments falling this year. This contrasts with 13.88 percent satisfaction in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Trust deputy chairman Mick McAteer said: “Although concerns have been expressed about the robustness of the Northern Ireland economy during this period of pre-Brexit uncertainty, the latest analysis from Registry Trust showing significant falls in judgments paints a more positive picture. But, it is too early to reach conclusions as these falls could represent legacy problems falling out of the system. We will continue to monitor the data to see if these improvements are sustained.”

Registry Trust is a non-profit organisation which collects judgment information throughout the British Isles and Ireland. In Northern Ireland it collects information on defaults and small claims judgments, and High Court judgments. A judgment is a warning that debt may be out of control.

Registry Trust received 19,861 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at during the first half of 2019. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland. “We have upgraded TrustOnline to make it mobile friendly,” said Mr McAteer. “It is now cheap, quick and efficient to enquire about whoever you transact with. If there's a judgment on their record, think twice.”

Q1+Q2 2019 Change (compared with Q1+Q2 2018)
Defaults and
small claims
volume 4,603 3,721 -19%
total value £9.3m £7.8m -16%
Average* value £2,019 £2,094 +4%
High Court
volume 35 30
[record low]
down five
total value £2.9m £2.3m
[record low]
Average* value £82,095 £77,935 -5%

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.