The number and total value of small claims judgments in Northern Ireland dropped to record lows in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures released by Registry Trust.

There were 1,750 small claims judgments in the first three months of 2019, 22 percent fewer than in the previous year’s first quarter. The total value fell by 15 percent to £3.7million, though the average value increasing by nine percent to £2,129.

There were 18 High Court judgments, four fewer than in Q1 2019. The total value of judgments in the High Court fell by 22 percent to £1.8 million. Both number and value were the lowest first quarter figures on record. The average value increased by four percent to £101,732.

The total value of judgments in the first quarter of the year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £5.6m compared with £6.7m in Q1 2018.

During Q1 2019, 2.94 percent of judgments were marked as satisfied. This contrasts with 10.52 percent in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to differences between legal systems.

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.”

Statistics

Q1 2018 Q1 2019 Change (compared with Q1 2018)
Defaults and small claims
volume 2,242 1750

[record low]

-22%
 total value £4.4m £3.7m

[record low]

-15%
Average* value £1,960 £2,129 +9%
High Court judgments
volume 24 18

[record low]

down six
total value £2.4m £1.8m

[record low]

-22%
Average* value £97,844 £101,732 +4%

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