Belfast Telegraph

Reduction in judgments in court may be good sign for Northern Ireland economy

Positive picture: Mick McAteer
Positive picture: Mick McAteer

By Staff Reporter

Falling numbers of small claims and High Court judgments in Northern Ireland during the first half of the year could be a positive sign for the economy, it's been claimed.

Information service Registry Trust said there had been 3,721 defaults and small claims judgments between January and June - a fall of 19% on the year before.

And the value of small claims judgments was also down by 16% to £7.8m, though at £2,094 the average value had risen by 4%.

Small claims judgments can be taken for debts of less than £3,000 and where people have failed to pay up despite being given the opportunity to do so.

There is no need to instruct a solicitor or barrister to take claims in the small claims court, where individuals and businesses can go to chase up everything from unpaid rent by tenants to compensation for faulty goods and services.

According to Registry Trust, High Court judgments - in which people chase sums of money larger than £3,000 - were at a record low, with 30 judgments worth a total of £2.3m, five fewer than a year earlier. The average value of a High Court judgment had also fallen 5% to £77,935.

Trust deputy chairman Mick McAteer said: "Although concerns have been expressed about the robustness of the Northern Ireland economy during this period of pre-Brexit uncertainty, the latest analysis from Registry Trust showing significant falls in judgments paints a more positive picture. But it is too early to reach conclusions as these falls could represent legacy problems falling out of the system. We will continue to monitor the data to see if these improvements are sustained."

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The total value of judgments in the first half of the year in all courts in Northern Ireland was £10.1m, compared with £12.2m in the first half of 2018.

The online service provided by Registry Trust allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses.

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