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The number of judgments in Northern Ireland rose sharply in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released today (5th December 2019) by Registry Trust.

There were 2,222 small claims judgments in Q3 2019, 30 percent more than in the previous year’s third quarter. Much of this increase is driven by a large rise in smaller value judgments. The total value of judgments rose by only 4 percent to £4.1million, with the average value falling by 20 percent to £1,852.

High Court judgments numbers rose 82 percent, with a total of 20 High Court judgments registered this quarter, amounting to £1.3 million.

A rise of just over £300,000 in the total value of judgments in all courts in Northern Ireland saw figures reaching £5.4m compared with £5.1m in Q3 2018.

In the third quarter of 2019 High Court judgments made up less than one percent of Northern Ireland judgments. But, they accounted for 24 per cent of the total value of registered judgment debt, with an average value of £66,383.

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.

During Q3 2019, 2 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied in Northern Ireland. This contrasts with 16 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Accurate, trustworthy judgment data promotes responsible lending and borrowing. It also provides an important indicator of the state of household finances and the economy. The first half of 2019 saw an encouraging fall in the number of judgments. But, we now see a worryingly large rise in the third quarter of the year. This must give rise to concerns about the state of the Northern Ireland economy and household finances. We will continue to monitor this closely”.

Defaults and small claims
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 1713 2222 30%
total value £3,939,566 £4,115,187 5%
Average* value £2,302 £1,852 -20%
High Court judgments
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 11 20 82%
total value £1,199,527 £1,327,662 11%
Average* value £109,048 £66,383 -39%

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.