Business debt soars

The total value of adverse county court judgments (CCJs) against businesses recorded in England and Wales rose sharply during the first half of the year, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.

Registry Trust is the Registrar of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales (on behalf of the Ministry of Justice). In addition, it collects, verifies and publishes judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.

Registry Trust provides its licensed credit reference agencies with regular updates on outstanding judgment debts. This information affects the ability of all enterprises to borrow.

In Q1 and Q2 2018, 63,452 CCJs were registered against businesses in England and Wales. Rising 19 percent compared to the same period of 2017, this was a six year high.

Compared to the same period of 2017, the average value of an adverse business CCJ rose by 38 percent to £3,953. Combined, these changes resulted in a 64 percent increase in the total value of CCJs.

A single £50 million corporate judgment in Q2 2018 distorted the scale of this increase; but, excluding it, the average value of judgments against all businesses still rose by 11 percent, the total value against all businesses rose by 32 percent and the total value of company judgments also increased by 32 percent.

A 30 percent increase in the value of judgments against generally smaller, unincorporated businesses, bucked the downward trend for the first half of the year for the first time since 2009.

In the High Court 50 judgments were issued, 26 more than during the first half of the previous year. However, the average value plummeted, dropping by 85 percent to £635,945. This decline in value was due in part to two large value judgments totalling £81.4 million inflating figures in the first quarter of 2017. As a result, there was a 69 percent decrease in the total value of High Court judgments.

As well as distributing judgment information under strict licensing to leading credit reference agencies, Registry Trust makes the public information widely available through TrustOnline.

There were 109,821 public requests to search the register for England and Wales online during Q1 and Q2 2018. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against businesses and consumers in jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.

On behalf of TrustOnline, Malcolm Hurlston CBE, chairman of Registry Trust said: “These figures can be seen as a warning to businesses to pay debts on time. If they don’t, lenders may well be showing an increasing propensity to take them to court for debt and leave a lasting mark on their records.”


● CCJs against all businesses Q1 and Q2 2018 (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
o Total number: 63,452 (up 19 percent)
o Total value: £250.8m (up 64 percent)
o Average value: £3,953 (up 38 percent)*
· Median: £1,028 (up nine percent)
· Adjusted CCJs against all businesses**
o Total number: 63,451 (up 19 percent)
o Total value: £200.8m (up 32 percent)
o Average value: £3,165 (up 11 percent)

● CCJs against companies (incorporated businesses) Q1 and Q2 2018
o Total number: 47,912 (up 29 percent)
o Total value: £198.0m (up 77 percent)
o Average value: £4,132 (up 37 percent)
Median value: £956 (up six percent)

· Adjusted company CCJs**
o Total number:47,911 (up 29 percent)
o Total value: £148.0m (up 32 percent)
o Average value: £3,089 (up three percent)

● CCJs against unincorporated businesses Q1 2018
o Total number: 15,540 (down four percent)
o Total value: £52.8m (up 30 percent)
o Average value: £3,401 (up 36 percent)
o Median value: £1,186 (up 18 percent)

● High Court judgments against businesses Q1 and Q2 2018
o Total number: 50 (up 26)
o Total value: £31.8m (down 69 percent)
o Average value: £635,945 (down 85 percent)
o Median: £8,170 (down 95 percent)