The number and value of county court judgments (CCJs) against businesses in England and Wales dropped in the first half of 2012, according to the Registry Trust.
The latest figures showed that the total value of debt judgments continued to decline, down 5.4%, or £15.8m lower than the total for the first half of 2011.
In the first six months of this year, businesses were ordered to repay debts worth £276.1m, compared with £291.9m in the same period the previous year.
The non-profit Registry Trust, which operates the register of judgments, orders and fines for England and Wales, revealed that a total of 65,022 judgments were issued against businesses in the first half of this year.Businesses faced 7,074, or 9.8% fewer CCJs in 2012, compared to the first six months of 2011, when there was a total of 72,096 judgments.
According to the organisation, the figures depict a longer term trend, with the number and value of CCJs against companies having been decreasing since 2009, when 116,633 CCJs worth £510.1m were recorded.
Statistics from Northern Ireland showed that the total value of default and small claims judgments issued against businesses and consumers in the first half of the year was 4.7% lower than the same period in 2011, down from £11.5m to just under £11m.
Despite a three-year decline in the value of judgments for debt in Northern Ireland, the number of judgments increased by 5.6% to 4,975, from 4,713.
There were 387 high court judgments to the value of £29.1m issued in the first six months of 2012, slightly below the annual average value of £31.7m between 2008 and 2011.
Hurlston said that it was too early to draw conclusions about Northern Ireland’s “debt picture”.
Brian Havercroft, chairman of the Civil Court Users Association and high court services director at Marston Group, said that the reduction in judgments was a result of the “economic situation”.
“In addition, creditors are less inclined to use the courts due to the cost and delays which, coupled with the government’s policy of reducing the effectiveness of enforcement, will mean a reduction in the use of the courts.”
He added: “Creditors need to know that if they issue proceedings there is a reasonable chance of making recovery but sadly the government is doing little to reverse the trend that has occurred in protecting debtors to the detriment of the creditor.”