Registering of judgments at record low

The number of consumer debt judgments registered in the Republic of Ireland fell to the lowest total since modern records began in 2008, during the first half of the year, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.

Registry Trust is the mission-led organisation which operates as Irish Judgments in the Republic of Ireland, where it collects information on judgments registered against businesses and consumers. A judgment is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.

Nine hundred and thirty judgments were issued against consumers during Q1 and Q2 2018, 17 percent fewer than during the same period of 2017 and the lowest total on record for the first half of the year. By contrast, during Q1 and Q2 2011 2,535 consumer judgments were registered.

Despite the fall in numbers, the average consumer judgment sharply increased in value by 80 percent which took the total value of consumer judgments to €160.4m.

The scale of this rise was partially caused by several abnormally large judgments, including one judgment worth €30m. In contrast to the massive year-on-year increase in the average judgment’s value, the median judgment (excluding outliers) rose by twenty percent to €14,654.

In Q1 and Q2 2018, 278 business judgments were issued, 27 percent fewer than during the same period of the previous year.

The decrease in the volume of business judgments, coupled with a 16 percent drop in the average judgment’s value led to a 39 percent fall in the total value of business judgments.

The figures are based only on judgments registered at the request and cost of creditors at the Four Courts in Dublin and therefore provide only a partial picture of unmanaged debt judgments in the country. By comparison, in the much smaller economy of Northern Ireland, where judgments from all courts are registered, there were 4,603 judgments during the first half of 2018.

Malcolm Hurlston as Registrar commented: “The significance of these judgments is that creditors have gone to the trouble and expense of registering them at the Four Courts for further visibility and action. However there is much to be learned from other judgments in smaller courts which are public but not registered. Irish businesses and consumers can benefit from the wider information available in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain.”

In Q1 and Q2 2018 Registry Trust received 16,694 requests to search the register for the Republic of Ireland online at www.trustonline.org.uk. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses throughout the British Isles and Ireland.

Malcolm Hurlston urged consumers to check TrustOnline when undertaking any contract: “Only at TrustOnline can you see whether third parties have failed to manage debt; it is a fast cheap and efficient way of checking.”

Statistics

Judgments against consumers Q1 and Q2 2018 (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
Total: 930 (down 17 percent)
Total value: €160.4m (up 50 percent)
Average value: €172,492 (up 80 percent)
Median: €14,654 (up 20 percent)
Judgments against businesses Q1 and Q2 2018
Total: 278 (down 27 percent)
Total value: €5.2m (down 39 percent)
Average value: €18,741 (down 16 percent)
Median: €8,388 (up 71 percent)