"Warning signal" as judgments rise again
The number of judgments recorded against consumers in the county courts of England and Wales rose six percent last year to 537,000, reversing four consecutive yearly falls in the wake of the 2008 financial crash. The figures were revealed in the latest annual statistics released by Registry Trust.
Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects judgment information throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. In England and Wales it runs the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for the Ministry of Justice, which includes county court and high court information.
In 2013, 536,700 county court judgments (CCJs) were issued, up 5.8 percent on 2012. In 2009 707,900 judgments were recorded.
There was a similar increase in high court judgments against consumers. After a multi-year decline they rose over ten percent to 602, compared with 520 in the previous year following a fall from 1,270 in 2009.
The average value of a high court judgment in 2013 was £410,000 whereas the average value of a CCJ was £2,500. The total value of all judgments against consumers in 2013 was £1.6 bn.
Commenting on the 2013 statistics, Malcolm Hurlston CBE, chairman of Registry Trust, said: “Consumer debt is still at dangerously high levels and the reversal in the favourable judgment trend is a timely warning signal.”
Registry Trust’s website - trustonline.org.uk - is where the public can access judgment information for England and Wales, as well as other jurisdictions across the British Isles.
In 2013 TrustOnline received a total of 140,000 direct search requests for England and Wales in addition to the data which is provided in bulk to credit reference agencies and others as an indicator in assessing creditworthiness.