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In the first three months of 2019, the number of decrees against Scottish businesses dropped by 25 percent, compared to the same period of 2018, according to figures released today (date) by Registry Trust. The total of 561 was the lowest of any quarter on record.

The total value of decrees against businesses in the first quarter fell three percent to £3.1million. The average value of a business decree rose 30 percent to £5,599 while the median, at £1,900, was up by 23 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The total number of decrees against companies dropped by 30 percent from the previous year’s figures, to 398, though the average value of a decree in Q1 2019 jumped 98 percent to £6,663 - a record high for the first quarter. The median increased by 38 percent to £2,067 and the total value of decrees against Scottish companies rose by 39 percent to £2.7million.

The total number of decrees against generally smaller unincorporated businesses fell 11 percent on Q1 2018’s figures, to 163 - also a record first quarter low. The total value also dropped to a record first quarter low of £489,041, down 63 percent compared to the same period of 2018. The average value decreased by 58 percent to £3,000, while the median value fell 15 percent to £1,632.

During the first quarter of 2019, 5,253 debt decrees were registered against consumers, 28 percent lower than Q1 2018. There was a 29 percent decrease in the combined value of consumer decrees to £11.9million. The average value of all consumer decrees fell to £2,267, two percent lower than in the same period of 2018, and the median consumer decree increased by nine percent to £1,289.

The number of small claims against consumers fell by 28 percent in Q1 2019 to 4,857, with the total value down 24 percent on Q1 2018’s figures to £7.4million. The average value increased by five percent to £1,520, and the median value rose by 11 percent to £1,201.

Ordinary cause decrees against consumers in the first quarter of 2019 dropped by 23 percent to 396, compared to the same period the previous year, while the total and average values fell to all time first quarter lows of £4.5million and £11,437 respectively. The median value at £8,655 rose four percent from Q1 2018 figures.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects decree and judgment information from jurisdictions throughout the British Isles and Ireland. In Scotland it collects information on small claims, summary, ordinary cause and simple procedure sheriff's court decrees. A decree is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.

Only 4.39 percent of decrees were marked as satisfied during the first quarter of 2019, less than half the 10.52 percent of satisfied debt judgments in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to legal differences. This suggests advice agencies in Scotland should encourage clients to report when they have satisfied a debt.

Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE said: “These figures show a Scottish economy in robust health despite headwinds. The absence of judgments makes it easier to borrow responsibly - an important element to a strong economy.”

In the first quarter of 2019 Registry Trust received 9996 requests to search the register for Scotland online at TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction throughout the British Isles and Ireland.

Q1 2019 Change (compared with Q1 2018)
Decrees against
all businesses
volume 750 561
[record low]
total value £3.2m £3.1m -3%
Average* value £4,301 £5,599 +30%
median £1,548 £1,900 +23%
Decrees against
incorporated businesses
volume 566 398 -30%
total value £1.9m £2.7m +39%
Average* value £3,370 £6,663
[record high]
median £1,500 £2,067 +38%
Decrees against
unincorporated businesses
volume 184 163
[record low]
total value £1.3m £489,041
[record low]
Average* value £7,167 £3,000 -58%
median £1,925 £1,632 -15%
Q1 2019 Change (compared with Q1 2018)
All consumer
volume 7,259 5,253 -28%
total value £16.8m £11.9m -29%
Average* value £2,312 £2,267 -2%
median £1,179 £1,289 +9%
Small claims and summary cause decrees
volume 6,747 4,857 -28%
total value £9.7m £7.4m -24%
Average* value £1,446 £1,520 +5%
median £1,082 £1,201 +11%
Ordinary cause
volume 512 396 -23%
total value £7.0m £4.5m
[record low]
Average* value £13,724 £11,437
[record low]
median £8,319 £8,655 +4%

For more information please contact

0207 391 7287

Notes for editors

Registry Trust is a non-profit company established in 1985 to become the Registrar of County Court Judgments. Registry Trust holds a public register of Scottish decrees. By agreement with the Scottish Courts Administration Service it collects details of undefended money decrees entered in the small claims, summary and ordinary cause sheriffs’ courts in Scotland.

Decrees are 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, defendants can apply to Registry Trust to have the record marked as ‘satisfied’ to improve their credit rating.

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.

To view the full set of statistics, visit