Judgments against businesses fall - but debt soars to nearly £1m


JUDGMENTS taken out against big businesses in the north fell by 28 per cent in the first three months of this year, though the value soared to nearly £1 million, according to new figures from the Registry Trust.

There were 223 judgments taken against incorporated businesses in January, February and March compared to 309 in the same period in 2019.

But the value of those actions rose from £657,000 to £904,000, and the average value almost doubled from £2,127 to £4,054

For smaller unincorporated businesses, there were 38 judgments against 48 in the corresponding period, with the total value rising from £54,167 to £78,339, or an average of £2,062.

Indeed businesses owed a quarter of all judgment debt in Northern Ireland in the first quarter compared to just 13 per cent a year earlier.

The number of judgments against individuals increased by 4.6 per cent from 1,411 to 1,476, but the amount owed fell by 34 per cent from just under £5m to £3.2m while the average value of debt fell from £3,434 to £2,159.

Registry Trust is a 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.

Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Covid-19 interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors, means we should see a major fall in numbers next quarter.

“But this latest data suggests some Northern Irish consumers are struggling with smaller debts, and damage to household finances will show up later.”