Registry Trust, which maintains the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, is pushing for two significant changes to the Register.
The first is to incorporate a way of registering partial settlements of County Court judgments (CCJs) and the second is to include the claimant’s data on the Register.
In the UK there are currently 4.5 million individuals with an outstanding CCJ, either not paid in full or have not been marked as “satisfied” within six years. One of the reasons why a CCJ may not be marked as satisfied is when a sum lower than the CCJ value has been agreed, and paid, by the debtor but, because the CCJ record has not been updated to show the lower settlement figure, the judgment will not show as paid in full and will remain on the Register and their credit file.
If a partial settlement does not clear the record, this will provide little incentive to the debtor to make payment. Registry Trust states that the debt advice sector may advise their clients against making partial payments as a result, especially when there are other debts that are more pressing.
Registry Trust has set up a “public data for public good” project to create a way of adding partial settlements to the Register to provide an incentive for payment. Their analysis says that this solution could create savings to affected borrowers of £5m to £12m once it is fully implemented.
Claimant data on the Register
Unlike in Scotland, where the claimant’s details are readily available, in England and Wales you have to apply to the court, pay a fee and then wait to find out who that claimant is on a CCJ. The delay in receiving the information could take you past the 30-day period to pay in full and have the record removed from the Register.
Answering requests to the court for claimant information also adds to the time pressures on court employees.
Registry Trust identifies a number of other benefits from adding claimant data to the Register that go beyond helping consumers and the courts. These include:
- Insights for analysts and policy makers into the sectors that are driving changes to the volume and value of CCJs, as well as show which types of debts are causing emerging financial stress
- Deeper insight into consumer behaviour around which bills are left unpaid when the debtor is struggling
- Enable regulators, such as Ofgem, Ofwat, Ofcom and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), to ensure that companies are correctly and appropriately following treating customers fairly protocols
- Help inform funding provided for debt advice services
To support these initiatives
Registry Trust is progressing both the initiatives currently and would like to hear from you if you want to discuss how to support these proposals. You can contact them by email at email@example.com.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance