The number of debt judgments registered against Northern Ireland consumers in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020 was just 608, a huge fall of 66 percent compared to the 1,781 registered in the same period last year, according to new figures by Registry Trust.

The fall in the total value of judgment debt owed in Q3 was on a similar scale, a 62 percent drop compared to the same period last year, from £4.3 million to £1.6 million. But, the average value of consumer judgments rose by nearly 11 percent, from £2,417 last year to £2,674. The median value rose by more than one-third from £750 to £1,001. This suggest creditors are taking out fewer, larger judgments against consumers.

The period also saw very large falls in the number and value of judgments against businesses in Northern Ireland. The number of judgments registered in Q3 2020 was just 73, compared to 461 in Q2 last year, a fall of 84 percent. The total value of judgments against Northern Ireland businesses fell from £1.1 million to £457,243 a fall of 60 percent. The average value of business judgments rose steeply, from £2,467 to £6,264, up 154 percent. The story is one of many fewer, but larger judgments.

Registry Trust chairman Mick McAteer said “The latest Registry Trust data shows that Government and regulatory interventions, and forbearance by creditors, in response to the Covd-19 economic crisis continue to work. But, the respite may be short lived as the damage to business and household finances will show up later once the jobs and consumer protection measures are unwound”.

Half Year 2019 Half Year 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Judgments against consumers
volume 1,781 608 -65.86%
total value £4,305,355 £1,625,971 -62.23%
average* value £2,417 £2,674 10.63%
median value £750 £1,001 33.40%