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|Small rise in judgments marks better quarter for consumers|
|Tuesday, 03 May 2016|
The number of debt judgments against consumers in England and Wales rose slightly during the first quarter of 2016, according to Registry Trust.
The non-profit Registry Trust collects judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland. In England and Wales, it operates the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. A judgment is incontrovertible proof of unmanaged debt.
There were 220,832 county court judgments (CCJs) against consumers in England and Wales during Q1 2016, a five percent rise on the first quarter of 2015. Though this is the third consecutive year in which the number of judgments has risen, the rate of increase is much lower than the 21 percent rise from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015 and the 38 percent increase the year before that.
The average value of a CCJ fell for the seventh year in a row, dropping 17 percent to £1,793.
Meanwhile, the number of judgments against consumers in the high court fell sharply from 71 in Q1 2015 to 47 in Q1 2016, a 34 percent fall and the lowest quarter for over a decade. The total value fell 36 percent to £37m across the same period, a figure reflected in the four percent fall in the average value of a high court judgment to £797,653.
The total value of debt judgments against consumers in all courts in England and Wales during Q1 2016 was £433m.
“These look encouraging figures for the economy and for personal debt,” said Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE. “The increasing market presence of debt buyers may well account for the slight increase. They choose the judgment route at a lower debt level, so a small rise in judgment numbers may well reflect a small fall in people with debt problems. For borrowers and lenders alike better registration of problem debt through judgments makes future lending more accurate.”
In Q1 2016 Registry Trust received 38,583 requests to search the register for England and Wales, the bulk of which were made online at www.trustonline.org.uk. 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. Our registers cover the British Isles and Ireland,” said Mr Hurlston. “Negative information should at least give pause for thought.”
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