There were 1,160 judgments registered against consumers in Ireland during the first half of 2019 according to the latest figures released by Registry Trust. This is a 25 percent leap in the number of judgments, compared to the same period of the previous year which, at 930, was the lowest first half-year figure on record.

The total value of consumer judgments was down 55 percent to €72.5million and the average value of a consumer judgment fell 64 percent to €62,470, both record lows for a first half-year. The scale of this drop in value was partially caused by several abnormally large judgments in the first half of 2018, including one judgment worth €30m. The median value at €13,218 had dropped 10 percent from the HY1 2018 level.

The figures are based only on judgments registered at the request and cost of creditors at the Four Courts in Dublin and to that extent 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 1768 judgments in first quarter of 2019.

Malcolm Hurlston as Registrar said “At first sight it looks as if businesses did well in the first half of the year, while consumers suffered. A likely reason for consumer judgments to have gone up in number and down in average value is the increasing market presence of debt buyers whose efficiency makes it worthwhile for them to pursue smaller claims. In the longer run this benefits consumers too because the absence of a judgment after debt has been mismanaged would give a misleading impression which could well lead to unaffordable borrowing.”

Q1+Q2 2018 Q1+Q2 2019 Change (compared with Q1+Q2 2018) notes
Judgments against consumers  
volume 930

[record low]

1,160 +25%  
 total value

€160.4m

€72.5m

[record low]

-55% 2019 figure includes five single judgments totalling £10.6m
Average* value

€172,492

[record high]

€62,470

[record low]

-64% 2018 figure includes several abnormally large judgments inc. one of €30m

2019 figure includes five single judgments totalling £10.6m

median

€14,654

€13,218

-10%

* Average value refers to the ‘mean’. The mean average tends to be higher than the median, as it more likely to be distorted by outlying, high value cases.