Satisfactions down despite increase in judgments

The total number of defaults and small claims judgments issued in Northern Ireland during the first half of the year rose to the highest levels since 2012, according to figures released today by Registry Trust. However, the percentage of judgments marked as satisfied was just a fifth of the percentage satisfied in England and Wales during the same period.

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.

There were 4,603 small claims judgments in Q1 and Q2 2018, 12 percent more than during the same period of last year and the highest total for the first half of the year since 2012.

The average small claims judgment decreased one percent to £2,019; combined these changes led to a 12 percent rise in the total value of small claims judgments.

In the High Court 35 judgments were registered, 40 fewer than during the first half of 2017. The average High Court judgment halved in value, leading to a 77 percent fall in the total value of judgments.

During Q1 and Q2 2018, 2.93 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 14.54 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

A judgment is marked as satisfied if it is paid or settled and Registry Trust is informed.

Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE advised people who had paid back: “If you have satisfied a judgment, tell Registry Trust and we shall let credit reference agencies know. Then you are likely to find borrowing easier and cheaper. You need to tell us, it doesn’t happen automatically. Fewer than a quarter of the people in Northern Ireland who pay back are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Registry Trust received 16,818 requests to search the register for Northern Ireland online at www.trustonline.org.uk during the first half of 2018. 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.”

Statistics

Defaults and small claims Q1 and Q2 2018 (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
Total number: 4,603 (up 12 percent)
Total value: £9.3m (up 12 percent)
Average: £2,019 (down one percent)
Median: £827 (down two percent)

High Court judgments Q1 and Q2 2018
Total number: 35 (down 40)
Total value: £2.9m (down 77 percent)
Average: £82,095 (down 50 percent)
Median: £51,814 (down 18 percent)