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Consumers rack up £800k of debt in first quarter of 2018

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THE number of debt judgments registered in Jersey courts rose slightly during the first quarter of 2018, according to figures released by UK-based Registry Trust.

Malcolm Hurlston is the founder and chairman of the Employee Share Ownership Centre

A non-profit organisation, Registry Trust collects judgment information from jurisdictions throughout the British Isles and Ireland, including publicly available judgment records from the Petty Debts and Royal Court in Jersey.

In Q1 2018, a total of 543 debt judgments were made by the Jersey courts, 13% more than the same quarter last year.

The increase was due mainly to an 18% spike in the number of consumer judgments, and the number of business judgments actually fell by 13.

This produces the figure of 5.2 judgments issued per 1,000 people in Jersey, compared to 5.8 per 1,000 in England and Wales.

The total value of the judgments skyrocketed by 71%, but this was due mainly to two large outstanding consumer judgments, each to the value of £965,262.

Excluding the two large judgments, the value of debt registered during Q1 2018 was £806,001, almost half the total for the same period in 2017.

During the quarter, 3.9% of Jersey’s judgments were satisfied, compared to 9.2 percent during Q1 2017.

Chairman of Registry Trust, Malcolm Hurlston, who is also well-known in Jersey as the chairman of the Employee Share Owernership Centre, warned that Jersey consumers should ensure they apply for a ‘satisfaction’ if they have paid off their debt.

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‘If they don’t, they miss out on a great opportunity to improve their record and typically make borrowing easier and cheaper,’ he said.

In the first quarter of this year, Registry Trust received 8,477 requests to search the Jersey register online at trustonline.org.uk. The website allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland.

‘Anybody in Jersey can search our registers,’ Mr Hurlston said. ‘It makes sense whenever you are contemplating a transaction.’

The Jersey register recorded 543 judgments in the first three months of 2018, with a total value of £2.7m. The average value of debts was therefore £5,040 (including two large business judgments), an increase of 51 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017.

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