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Small businesses faring much better as judgment values fall

The amount owed by Scottish corporations to creditors rose to £2.9million in the third quarter of 2019, a rise of 39 percent on the £2.1million owed in the third quarter of the previous year, according to figures released today (5th December 2019) by Registry Trust.

Overall, the total value of decrees against Scottish businesses of all types rose to £3.6million in Q3 2019, an increase of 24 percent over the year. However, the number of judgments rose by only 7 percent from the previous year’s figures.

Non-incorporated companies, generally much smaller businesses, fared much better seeing a fall in the total and average values, which were down by 13 and 16 percent respectively.

Scottish claimants or pursuers have been increasingly taking out decree judgments valuing over £1,000 against non-corporate businesses, despite the total value of debt in Q3 2019 dropping to £655,220 and averaging in at a £4,853.

In contrast, the number of consumer decrees fell by 14 percent compared to last year’s Q3. A decrease in the number and value of consumer decrees suggests better management of debt by consumers in Scotland.

There were 4,859 debt decrees registered against consumers in the third quarter, with a 14 percent decrease bringing the total value to £13.2million. The average value of consumer decrees also fell to £2,715, rising a mere 0.67 percent compared to the same period of 2018.

Ordinary cause decrees against consumers in the third quarter of 2019 dropped by 9 percent to 493, showing a decrease in number of decrees across the board for consumers. The total and average values fell to £6million and £12,347 respectively, a positive outcome for Scottish consumers.

The number of small claims against consumers also fell by 15 percent in Q3 2019 to 4,366, total value following suit with a 11 percent decrease on Q3 2018 figure’s to £7.1million. However, the average value increased by five percent to £1,627, with pursuers taking out fewer but larger small claims decrees against consumers.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects decree and judgment information, in Scotland it collects information on small claims, summary, ordinary cause and simple procedure sheriff's court decrees.

Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Accurate data on judgments (or decrees) promotes responsible lending and borrowing and is an important indicator of the state of the economy and household finances. Registry Trust data suggests that larger Scottish companies are facing a more difficult time. But, the picture is more favourable for smaller companies and consumers”.

Decrees against all businesses
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 754 805 7%
total value £2,874,044 £3,569,966 24%
Average* value £3,807 £4,435 16%
median £ 1,434 £ 1,388 -3%
Decrees against incorporated businesses
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 623 670 8%
total value £2,117,190 £2,914,746 39%
Average* value £3,393 £4,350 28%
median £1,332 £ 1,270.50 -5%
Decrees against unincorporated businesses
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 131 135 3%
total value £757,310 £655,220 -13%
Average* value £5,781 £4,853 -16%
median £1,826 £2100 15%
All consumer decrees
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 5,668 4,859 -14%
total value £15,305,678 £13,190,155 -13%
Average* value £2,697 £2,715 0.67%
median £1,215 £1482 22%
Small claims and summary cause decrees
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 5,124 4,366 -15%
total value £7,973,526 £7,102,892 -11%
Average* value £1,556 £1,627 +5%
median £1,203 £1,325 +10%
Ordinary cause decrees
Q3 2018 Q3 2019 Change (compared with Q3 2018)
volume 547 493 -9%
total value £7,127,226 £6,087,263 -15%
Average* value £13,392 £12,347 -7%
median £7,741 £8,186 +6%

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.

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