The first quarter of 2019 saw a record high of more than 320,000 county court judgments (CCJs) against consumers in the England and Wales, according to the Registry Trust.
A total of 321,044 judgements were made against consumers in the first quarter of the year, a rise of five percent on the same quarter in 2018.
The total number of adverse CCJs has risen year-on-year for the past six years.
At the same time the average value of a consumer CCJ recorded over the quarter decreased by six percent to £1,398 compared to Q1 2018, which had been the lowest first quarter average on record. The total value of CCJs remained close to last year’s levels, decreasing by one percent to £448.7m.
In the high court, 33 judgments were registered against consumers in Q1 2019, 11 fewer than in the same quarter of the previous year.
The total value of debt judgments against consumers in the High Court in England and Wales during the first quarter of the year was £17.1m, a decrease of 85 percent from Q1 2018’s value of £115.2m, though the decrease drops to 44 percent when a single large judgment of £84.5m in Q1 2018, is disregarded.
There were 64,502 public requests to search the register for England and Wales online during Q1 2019. TrustOnline, the Registry Trust’s online database, allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against businesses and consumers in jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.
Mick McAteer, deputy chairman of Registry Trust said: “Accurate judgment information reduces the risk of inappropriate lending and borrowing and is a useful indicator of the state of household finances. The number of judgments has hit record levels yet again but the average value continues to fall. It is not clear what explains these trends in England and Wales because centralised data on who is taking the legal actions isn’t available.”
Director of external affairs at the Money Advice Trust, Jane Tully, said: “The continued rise in the number of CCJs is a worrying trend and shows the financial challenges many people are facing.
“While these latest figures show the number of county court judgments against consumers at record levels, the overall amounts owed are decreasing.
“This is similar to what we are seeing at National Debtline, where growing numbers of people are contacting us with credit-related debts, but with overall smaller amounts of debt than in the past.”