The number of debt judgments recorded against businesses in the county courts of England and Wales fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, according to figures released today (February 2) by Registry Trust.
Registry Trust is the non profit organisation which collects judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland. In England and Wales it runs the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for the Ministry of Justice, and this register includes both CCJs and High Court information. All judgment records, business and consumer, are made available for the public to search at www.trustonline.org.uk. A judgment is incontrovertible proof of unmanaged debt.
There were 104,734 county court judgments (CCJs) against businesses in England and Wales in 2014, 10 per cent fewer than in 2013 and the fewest since 2009 when the total was 207,101.
The total value of CCJs against businesses in England and Wales was £378.3m, 17 per cent down on 2013 and the lowest since 2009 (£899.6m).
The downward trend in the county courts is consistent for both incorporated and unincorporated (typically smaller) businesses.
The number of High Court judgments (HCJs) against businesses last year fell by 22 per cent to 164, after a 17 per cent rise in 2013.
In the High Court, the value and average value of judgments against businesses both rose sharply, owing substantially to three very large judgments of £63m (against an incorporated business), £11m and £2m against smaller businesses (non-corporate).
The total value of HCJs last year was £175.2m, reversing three consecutive years where this fell, but still significantly lower than the recent peak of £485.2m in 2010.
Commenting on the statistics, Malcolm Hurlston CBE, chairman of Registry Trust said: “The downward trend in the number of judgments is strong evidence that the business recovery in England and Wales is on a firm footing.”
In 2014 Registry Trust received 145,000 search requests for England and Wales, the bulk of which were made online via www.trustonline.org.uk, in addition to providing data in bulk to credit reference agencies and others as an indicator in assessing creditworthiness. Through TrustOnline anybody is free to search for judgments and other registered information against businesses and consumers in any jurisdiction in the British Isles and Ireland. “It is a unique benefit for people to be able to check the debt record of any business or person with which they may be transacting. Negative information should at least give pause for thought.” said Mr Hurlston.