Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland debt judgments rise by 85% to £6m during last quarter

By John Mulgrew

The total value of debt judgments and small claims in Northern Ireland has skyrocketed by 85% to almost £6m in the last three months, according to new figures.

Overall, the number of judgments recorded rose by a quarter in the third quarter, up to 2,186, compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the Registry Trust, a non-profit organisation which collects judgment information from jurisdictions across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

But the value of judgments shot up by 85% in the same period - rising to £5.9m.

And the average value of a judgment increased 47% to £2,704, compared to a year earlier.

The debt judgments range from individuals and companies defaulting on payments, to individual small claims and larger business claims made in the High Court.

In the High Court, 14 judgments were issued. That's three fewer than in the third quarter of 2016.

Across the last few years, the number of judgments issued for the third quarter has fallen year on year since 2011, during which 217 High Court judgments were issued.

Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston said: "We are looking closely at where additional judgments are coming from, whether from traditional lenders, debt buyers or elsewhere.

"Any decision to take legal action is worth taking seriously whether taken by a lender or another agency reclaiming money."

And Chris Pond, chairman of the Lending Standards Board, said: "I am glad to see voluntary initiatives which improve the financial experience of many people. Registry Trust should get a good hearing for promoting consumers' interests."

The number of debt judgments here also increased during the first half of 2017. There were 4,101 small claims judgments in the first six months of the year. That's a year-on-year increase of 11%.

The total value rose by 21% to £8.3m, while the average value of a small claims judgment rose by 9% to £2,031.

In the High Court, 75 judgments were issued worth a total of £12.5m. That's more than double the overall amount a year earlier. The average High Court judgment was £165,692.

Belfast Telegraph

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