Government bodies are the largest major debt claimants

In the past two years government bodies in Northern Ireland accounted for a larger proportion of debt judgments than lenders, according to figures released today (August 2) by Registry Trust.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects judgment information throughout the British Isles and Ireland. In Northern Ireland it collects information on defaults and small claims judgments, and High Court judgments. Judgments affect the credit rating of both businesses and consumers.

Governmental organisations took to court 34 percent of judgments issued for the top 50 claimants during 2016 and 2017; lenders accounted for 33 percent. Housing organisations were responsible for 13 percent of the volume; utility companies made up just five percent.

The top 50 claimants are the 50 entities responsible for the largest value and volume of judgments during 2016 and 2017 combined. The top 50 accounted for 71 percent of the total value and 60 percent of the volume of judgments; personal claimants have been excluded.

Debt Management, part of the Department for Communities, issued more judgments (1,926) than any other entity during the period. Registering 796 and 666 judgments, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Abbey Insurance Brokers claimed the second and third most judgments.

A large year-on-year increase in the number of judgments from non-traditional, sub-prime and other lenders (non-banks and non-credit unions) was an outstanding feature of the top claimants statistics; lenders other than banks and credit unions registered an additional 429 judgments during 2017, 87 percent more than in the year before.

Lenders were responsible for 75 percent (£14.6m) of the total value of debt judgments made by the top claimants.

The two biggest claimants (by value), Ulster Bank and the PRA Group, who claimed for £4.2m and £3.2m respectively, accounted for half of this figure. Debt Management was the third largest claimant (by value), it accounted for £1.8m worth of judgments.

“This is the first time that public domain judgment information about claimants has been published in the British Isles, if not in the world” said Malcolm Hurlston CBE, chairman of Registry Trust. “It adds to our understanding of the importance of judgment information. Governmental bodies work to different standards in pursuing smaller debts since they feel an obligation to recover, whereas the private sector gives more weight to the profitability of the course of action.

“People who act on the basis of judgment information will benefit from taking the nature of the claimant more into account. This applies mainly to credit reference agencies and their lender clients but also borrowers and members of the public who consult the registers to judge whom it is safe to do business with.”

Registry Trust received 31,204 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at during 2017. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland. “It is a unique benefit for consumers to be able to check the debt record of any person or business with which they may be transacting,” said Mr Hurlston. “I would hesitate before transacting with any business which had a judgment on its record.”


Top 50 claimants categories by volume of judgments 2016 & 2017

Government Body – 2,354 (34 percent of the volume of judgments)
Lenders – 2,257 (33 percent)
Other – 1,029 (15 percent)
Housing – 878 (13 percent)
Utility – 344 (five percent)

Top 50 claimants categories by value of judgments 2016 & 2017

Lenders – £14.6m (75 percent of the total value of judgments)
Government Body – £2.4m (12 percent)
Other – £1.3m (six percent)
Housing – £889,668 (five percent)
Utility – £431,923 (two percent)

Top individual claimants by category (volume) 2016 and 2017 combined

Government Body
Debt Management: 1,926 judgments
The Registrar of Companies: 204
Northern Health and Social Care Trust: 81

Santander Consumer UK: 98
Bank of Ireland: 17
Ulster Bank: 11
Credit Unions
Newington Credit Union: 203
Lurgan Credit Union: 177
Cloughfern Community Credit Union: 71
Other lenders
PRA Group: 599
Skyline Direct: 297
Amigo Loans: 236

Northern Ireland Housing Executive: 796
Apex Housing Association: 82

Power Northern Ireland: 255
Northern Ireland Water: 81
Morgan Fuels Northern Ireland: eight

Abbey Insurance Brokers: 666
Asset Collection and Investigations: 174
The Performing Right Society: 128

Top individual claimants by category (value) 2016 and 2017 combined


Ulster Bank: £4.6m worth of judgments
Santander Consumer UK: £561,269
Bank of Ireland: £312,182
Credit Unions
Lurgan Credit Union: £498,146
Newington Credit Union: £424,039
Dromara & Drumgooland Credit Union: £193,158
Other lenders
PRA Group UK: £3.2m
Amigo Loans: £1.1m
Volkswagen Financial Services: £915,083

Government Body
Debt Management: £1.8m
CITB Northern Ireland: £199,935
Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland: £145,978

Northern Ireland Housing Executive: £787,611
Apex Housing Association: £102,057

Power Northern Ireland: £207,040
Morgan Fuels Northern Ireland: £122,582
Northern Ireland Water: £102,301

Abbey Insurance Brokers: £298,556
The Performing Right Society: £221,892
Kingstar Corporation Limited: £129,903

Biggest increase in judgments by volume (2017 compared with 2016)
Abbey Insurance Brokers 618 (up 570)
PRA Group 453 (up 307)
The Registrar of Companies 172 (up 140)
Amigo Loans 175 (up 114)
Skyline Direct 177 (up 57)

Biggest increase in judgments by value (2017 compared with 2016)
PRA Group £2.7m (up £2.3m)
Amigo Loans £829,170 (up £583,274)
Abbey Insurance Brokers £278,372 (up £258,188)
Governor and Company of Bank of Ireland £206,447 (up £206,447)
Santander £370,042 (up £178,815)