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The number and total value of small claims judgments in Northern Ireland dropped to record lows in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released today (May 7) by Registry Trust.

There were 1,750 small claims judgments in the first three months of 2019, 22 percent fewer than in the previous year’s first quarter. The total value fell by 15 percent to £3.7million, though the average value increasing by nine percent to £2,129.

There were 18 High Court judgments, four fewer than in Q1 2019. The total value of judgments in the High Court fell by 22 percent to £1.8 million. Both number and value were the lowest first quarter figures on record. The average value increased by four percent to £101,732.

The total value of judgments in the first quarter of the year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £5.6m compared with £6.7m in Q1 2018.

Registry Trust is the 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.

During Q1 2019, 2.94 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 10.52 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Trust deputy chairman Mick McAteer said: “Registry Trust data provides a useful indicator of the state of household finances, levels of unmanaged debt, and lenders’ attitudes towards borrowers in debt. The number and value of judgments against consumers was the lowest for any first quarter recorded. We will continue to monitor the data to see if this pattern continues.”

Registry Trust received 9772 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at during the first quarter 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 2019 Change (compared with Q1 2018)
Defaults and
small claims
volume 2,242 1750
[record low]
total value £4.4m £3.7m
[record low]
Average* value £1,960 £2,129 +9%
High Court
volume 24 18
[record low]
down six
total value £2.4m £1.8m
[record low]
Average* value £97,844 £101,732 +4%

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.