Business

Court judgments in the north fall to record first quarter lows

The number of small claims and High Court debt judgments in the north fell to record lows at the start of 2019

THE number and total value of debt judgments in the north fell to record lows at the start of 2019, according to the latest figures.

Data from the Registry Trust shows there were 1,750 small claims judgments in the first three months of the year, a reduction of 22 per cent on the first quarter of 2018 (2,242 judgments).

The value of claims at the start of 2019 also fell to £3.7 million - 15 per cent less than the same period last year (£4.4m) and the lowest first quarter on record.

The average value of small claims judgments rose by nine per cent over the year to £2,129.

There were 18 High Court judgments in the first three months of the year, four fewer than in 2018, while the total value of these fell by 22 per cent from £2.4m to £1.8m. Again, both represented the lowest first quarter figures on record.

The average value of High Court judgments increased by four percent to £101,732.

Overall the total value of debt judgments in all courts in the north in the first three months of the year was £5.6m. This represents a 16 per cent reduction on the 2018 total (£6.7m).

Reflecting on the latest figures, Registry 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.”

During the first quarter of the year just 2.94 per cent of judgments were marked as satisfied compared to an average of over 10 per cent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects judgment information throughout the UK and Ireland. In the north 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.

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