Debt judgments rise in Northern Ireland - but still below pre-pandemic peaks

THE number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland businesses and consumers rose slightly over the last calendar year, according to figures from the Registry Trust.

There were 545 judgments taken against businesses in the north (up from 539 in 2020), though the total value of them was rose by 18 per cent from £2.2 million to £2.7 million in 2021.

The average value of business judgments rose by 17 per cent from £4,228 in 2020 to £4,930 in 2021 said the Trust, the not-for-profit organisation which maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for the UK & Ireland.

Meanwhile the number of judgments registered against individual consumers rose by 2 per cent over the year from 3,207 to 3,263 in 2021 - still well below the highs seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the total value of the orders increased by more than one fifth (21 per cent), from £7,968,364 in 2020 to £9,677,337 last year, with the average value up 19 per cent from £2,485 to £2,966.

Registry Trust chair Mick McAteer said: “The number of debt judgments registered in 2021 was barely unchanged compared to 2020 and remains well below pre-Covid peaks.

“But given that we have yet to see the full impact of the current cost of living crisis and the Christmas period, which can be a difficult time for many, there can be no room for complacency.

“The outlook for financially vulnerable households in 2022 does not look good, and we’ll be monitoring our data closely for further increases.”

Registry Trust has published a new report entitled: ‘What does 2022 hold for financially vulnerable households in the UK?’

It calls on government, policy-makers, regulators, the financial sector, and civil society organisations to collaborate to protect financially vulnerable households from further financial harm, help them repair their finances, and promote financial resilience against future financial shocks.