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The number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland consumers in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2021) fell from 1,476 to 972, a fall of just over one third compared to the same period last year, according to figures released today (16.04.2021) by Registry Trust.

The total value of judgment debt saw a smaller fall, down 6.3 percent from £3.2 million to just under £3 million. The average value of consumer judgments rose by 42 percent, from £2,159 last year to £3,071. The median value rose by more than 14 percent from £814 to £930. This suggests creditors took out fewer, larger judgments against consumers in the quarter.

But, numbers are rising sharply again up 39 percent compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2020) and 129 percent from the lows seen in Q2 2020.

The period also saw large falls in the number and value of judgments against businesses in Northern Ireland. The number of judgments registered in Q1 2021 was just 152, compared to 261 in Q2 last year, a fall of 42 percent. The total value of judgments against Northern Ireland businesses fell from £982,467 to £691,881 a fall of 30 percent. The average value of business judgments rose steeply, from £3,764 to £4,552, up 21 percent. The story is one of fewer, but larger, business judgments in the quarter.

Registry Trust Chair, Mick McAteer, said: “The latest Registry Trust data shows that Government and regulatory interventions, and forbearance by creditors, in response to the Covd-19 economic crisis clearly helped households. But, as we expected, the damage to household finances caused by Covid is now showing up in the numbers as those protection measures are wound down”.

Q1 2020 Q1 2021 Change (compared with 2020)
Judgments against consumers
volume 1,476 972 -34.15%
total value £3,186,779 £2,984,960 -6.33%
average* value £2,159 £3,071 42.23%
median value £814 £930 14.25%
Judgments against all businesses
volume 261 152 -41.76%
total value £982,467 £691,881 -29.57%
average* value £3,764 £4,552 20.94%
median value £1,051 £1,144 8.85%
Judgments against incorporated businesses
volume 223 128 -42.60%
total value £904,128 £558,311 -38.25%
average* value £4,054 £4,362 7.60%
median value £1,005 £972 -3.28%
Judgments against unincorporated businesses
volume 38 24 -36.84%
total value £78,339 £133,570 70.50%
average* value £2,062 £5,565 169.88%
median value £1,250 £2,491 99.28%
volume 74 86 16.22%
total value £279,908 £167,600 -40.12%
average* value £3,783 £1,949 -48.48%
median value £878 £744 -15.26%

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.