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Sharp rise in debt judgments PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 November 2017
The value of default and small claims judgments in Northern Ireland skyrocketed during the third quarter, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.  

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland. In Northern Ireland it collects information on defaults and small claims judgments, and High Court judgments. A judgment is incontrovertible proof of unmanaged debt.

The number of default and small claim judgments recorded in Q3 2017 rose by a quarter, to 2,186, compared with the same period a year ago.

Rising 85 percent, the total value of judgments soared to £5,910,515.

The average value of a judgment increased 47 percent to £2,704, compared to a year prior.

In the High Court, 14 judgments were issued, three fewer than in the third quarter of 2016. In general, the number of judgments issued for the third quarter has fallen year on year since 2011, during which 217 High Court judgments were issued.

During Q3 2017, 4.52 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 11.98 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Under a new initiative developed by Registry Trust, lenders are being encouraged to notify the Trust directly when a judgment has been settled to their satisfaction. This would make an immediate difference in Northern Ireland, helping transform access to credit for thousands of consumers.

Chris Pond, chairman of the Lending Standards Board, welcomed this initiative. Mr Pond said: “I am glad to see voluntary initiatives which improve the financial experience of many people. Registry Trust should get a good hearing for promoting consumers’ interests.”

Announcing the quarterly figures, Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE said: “We are looking closely at where additional judgments are coming from: whether from traditional lenders, debt buyers or elsewhere. Any decision to take legal action is worth taking seriously whether taken by a lender or another agency reclaiming money.”

In Q3 2017 Registry Trust received 7,498 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland.

Defaults and small claims Q3 2017 (compared with Q3 2016)

Total: 2,186 (up 25 percent)
Total Value: £5.9m (up 85 percent)
Average: £2,704 (up 47 percent)
High Court judgments against Q3 2017
Total: 14 (down three)
Value: £583,306 (down £759,321)
Average: £41,665 (down £37,313)

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