Judgments in Northern Ireland ht record first quarter low

The number and total value of small claims judgments in Northern Ireland dropped to record lows in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.

There were 1,750 small claims judgments in the first three months of 2019, 22 percent fewer than in the previous year’s first quarter. The total value fell by 15 percent to £3.7million, though the average value increasing by nine percent to £2,129.

There were 18 High Court judgments, four fewer than in Q1 2019. The total value of judgments in the High Court fell by 22 percent to £1.8 million. Both number and value were the lowest first quarter figures on record. The average value increased by four percent to £101,732.

The total value of judgments in the first quarter of the year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £5.6m compared with £6.7m in Q1 2018.

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 a warning that debt may be out of control.

During Q1 2019, 2.94 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 10.52 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Trust deputy chairman Mick McAteer said: “Registry Trust data provides a useful indicator of the state of household finances, levels of unmanaged debt, and lenders’ attitudes towards borrowers in debt. The number and value of judgments against consumers was the lowest for any first quarter recorded. We will continue to monitor the data to see if this pattern continues.”