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The number of judgments against Northern Ireland consumers increased by 4.6 percent in Q1 2020 compared to the same period last year, from 1,411 to 1,476, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.

But the amount owed in judgment debt by Northern Irish consumers fell from just under £5 million to £3.2 million, down 34 percent over the same period.

The average value of consumer debt also fell from £3,434 to £2,159, a decrease of 37 percent on the same quarter of 2019. The fall in the average value is due to a decrease in the average value of debts above £3000.

In contrast, fewer but larger value judgments were taken out against businesses in Northern Ireland. The number of judgments against businesses fell 27 percent in the last quarter. Total and average values rose by 38 and 89 percent respectively.

The total value of Northern Irish businesses judgments reached almost the £1 million mark this quarter. Businesses owed 24 percent of all judgment debt in Northern Ireland in Q1 2020, compared to just 13 percent in Q1 2019.

Registry Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Covid19 interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors means we should see a major fall in numbers next quarter. But this latest data suggests some Northern Irish consumers are struggling with smaller debts, and damage to household finances will show up later”.

Q1 2019 Q1 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Judgments against consumers
volume 1,411 1,476 4.61%
total value £4,844,911 £3,186,779 -34.22%
Average* value £3,434 £2,159 -37.12%
Median value £918 £814 -11.38%
Judgments against all businesses
volume 357 261 -26.89%
total value £711,326 £982,467 38.12%
Average* value £1,993 £3,764 88.92%
Median value £833 £1,051 26.17%
Judgments against incorporated businesses
volume 309 223 -27.83%
total value £657,159 £904,128 37.58%
Average* value £2,127 £4,054 90.64%
Median value £833 £1,005 20.65%
Judgments against unincorporated businesses
volume 48 38 -20.83%
total value £54,167 £78,339 44.62%
Average* value £1,128 £2,062 82.68%
Median value £668 £1,250 87.13%

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.