Q4 and full year 2020 Northern Ireland judgments

The number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland consumers in the fourth quarter of 2020 was just 699, a huge fall of nearly 60 percent compared to the 1,732 registered in the same quarter last year, according to figures released today (08/01/2021) by Registry Trust.

The total value of judgment debt owed in Q4 2020 fell by just over half (52%) compared to the same period last year, from £4.5 million to £2.2 million. But, the average value of consumer judgments rose by nearly 18 percent, from £2,612 last year to £3,076. The median value rose by almost two-thirds from £904 to £1,488. This suggests creditors took out fewer, larger judgments against consumers.

The period also saw the number of judgments against businesses fall by just over half (51%), from 232 to 113. However, the total value of judgments against businesses rose by nearly 20 percent from £483,903 to £578,927. The average value of business judgments rose steeply, from £2,086 to £5,123, up 146 percent. The story is one of many fewer, but larger judgments.

But, following huge falls in the first half of the year, numbers are rising again. The total number of judgments rose by 16 percent in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020.

Registry Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “The latest data shows that Government and regulatory interventions, and forbearance by creditors, in response to the Covd-19 economic crisis have protected Northern Irish consumers. But, the signs are that the respite may be short lived as the numbers of debt judgments have started to rise.”