The number of county court judgments (CCJs) against consumers in England and Wales rose to the highest level in over a decade during the first quarter of the year, according to figures released today by Registry Trust. A judgment is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.
In Q1 2017, there were 298,901 debt judgments registered against consumers in England and Wales. Rising 35 percent on the same period last year, it is the highest figure for a single quarter in over a decade.
For every 1,000 people in England and Wales, 5.16 received a judgment, compared with 3.85 the year before.
The average value of a consumer CCJ fell for the eighth consecutive year, decreasing 17 percent on Q1 2016 to a historic low of £1,495. By comparison the average value of a judgment in Q1 2008 stood at £3,662.
The number of judgments marked as satisfied during the first three months of 2017 was 11.83 percent. This contrasts with the 13.33 percent satisfied in the first quarter of 2016.
In the High Court, only 35 judgments were registered against consumers in Q1 2017, the lowest total number for a single quarter on record. The average value of a consumer judgment in the High Court fell 44 percent year on year to £446,308.
The total value of debt judgments against consumers in all courts in England and Wales during the first quarter of 2017 was £462.5m.
“People who don’t pay their debts are increasingly likely to be taken to court,” said Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE. “CCJs can seriously damage credit ratings and good lenders rightly avoid people who have shown they can’t manage debt. This may seem like bad news on the surface but judgments for smaller sums are protective for the people concerned.”
In Q1 2017 Registry Trust received 53,340 requests to search the register for England and Wales online at www.trustonline.org.uk. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland. “It is a unique benefit for consumers to be able to check the debt record of any person or business with which they may be transacting. Our registers cover not just England and Wales but the British Isles and Ireland,” said Mr Hurlston. “Negative information on any of the registers give pause for thought.”