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Sharp risk in Northern Irish debt judgments PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
The total value of small claims judgments in Northern Ireland soared last year to the highest levels since 2012, according to figures released today 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. A judgment is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.

There were 8,742 small claims judgments in 2017, 19 percent more than the previous year. The average small claims judgment increased 18 percent to £2,248; combined these increases led to a 41 percent rise in the total value of small claims judgments.

In the High Court 111 judgments were registered, nine more than in the previous year. The average High Court judgment rose 51 percent, leading to a 64 percent increase in the total value of judgments.

The total value of judgments last year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £36.0m compared with £24.0m in 2016.

Lenders, including banks and credit unions, accounted for only 33 percent of the volume of judgments made during 2016 and 2017. The rest were mainly from government, housing and utilities. To cast light on judgment trends, a detailed analysis of claimants covering 2016 and 2017 and major claimants by category will be provided in a fortnight's time.

Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE said: “Northern Ireland leads the UK in our ability to relate judgment numbers to details of claimant activity. Our analysis will cast increases or decreases in judgments in a clearer light.”

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.”


Defaults and small claims 2017 (compared with 2016)
· Total: 8,742 (up 19 percent)
· Total value: £19.7m (up 41 percent)
· Mean average: £2,248 (up 18 percent)
· Median: £850 (up £3)

High Court judgments 2017
· Total: 111 (up nine)
· Value: £16.4m (up 64 percent)
· Mean average: £148,054 (up 51 percent)
· Median: £56,533 (up 17 percent)

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