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Decrees awarded against Scottish consumers fell by more than nine percent, year-on-year, in the final quarter of 2019, according to figures released today (date: 27/01/2020) by Registry Trust.

The number of consumer decrees fell from 5,504 in Q4 2018 to 4,984 in Q4 2019, while the total value fell by six percent from £13,650,093 to £12,866,883 in the same period. This meant that the average value saw a small rise of 4.1% from £2,480 to £2,582. The median value also rose by over nine percent from £1,333 to £1,453.

Decrees against all types of Scottish businesses rose significantly in the final quarter of 2019. The number and value both rose by 18 percent rise due to an increase in smaller value decrees against businesses. There was a significant rise in the number of decrees for amounts valued at between £100-1,500; decrees for amounts between £100-500 saw a big increase of 75 percent. This was reflected in the 41 percent fall in the median value from £1,813 in Q4 2018 to £1,068 in Q4 2019.

Small businesses fared much better this quarter compared to their larger counterparts, with the total number of decrees falling 27 percent. Despite the drop in the number, the total and average values of decrees against small businesses saw significant increases of 50 and 106 percent respectively, partly explained by a single large judgment of almost £500,000.

The largest growth (34 percent) could be seen in the number of decrees registered against incorporated businesses (e.g. limited companies) in Scotland. Increases in judgment amounts between £100-1,500 saw the total value rise from £1,881,877 in Q4 2018 to £2,017,158 in Q4 2019, and the average value fall 20 percent from £3,485 in Q4 2018 to £2,798 in Q4 2019.

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: “Registry Trust data is a critical indicator of the state of household finances and the economy in Scotland. Households and business have had very different experiences this quarter. The fall in consumer decrees suggests welcome respite for households. In the business sector, larger companies faced a significant rise in decrees while smaller business a fall in numbers”.

Decrees against consumers
Q4 2018 Q4 2019 Change (compared with Q4 2018)
volume 5,504 4,984 -9%
total value £13,650,093 £12,866,883 -6%
Average* value £2,480 £2,582 4%
median £1,333 £1,453 9%
Decrees against all businesses
Q4 2018 Q4 2019 Change (compared with Q4 2018)
volume 730 859 17%
total value £2,542,679 £3,006,544 18%
Average* value £3,483 £3,500 0.49%
median £1,813 £1,068 -41%
Decrees against incorporated businesses
Q4 2018 Q4 2019 Change (compared with Q4 2018)
volume 540 721 34%
total value £1,881,877 £2,017,158 7%
Average* value £3,485 £2,798 -20%
median £1,795 £880 -51%
Decrees against unicorporated businesses
Q4 2018 Q4 2019 Change (compared with Q4 2018)
volume 190 138 -27%
total value £660,802 £989,386 50%
Average* value £3,478 £7,169 106%
median £1,820 £1,887 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