The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has opened a consultation into the inclusion of claimant data on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines.
The consultation considers a proposal to amend the law to allow for the names of claimants of money judgments in the County Court and High Court to be published on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales (the “Register”). The Register is run by Registry Trust Ltd, on behalf of the MoJ.
The Register contains information about individuals, businesses or organisations that have had unpaid judgments, orders or fines made against them by a court or tribunal. This information can be accessed publicly and is used in a number of ways. For example, banks and lenders can use data from the Register when deciding whether to lend money.
The government thinks that the inclusion of the claimant’s name on the Register in England and Wales could be beneficial to consumers. It could:
- help consumers who have had a default County Court judgment made against them and do not know who the claimant is;
- help regulators to monitor how regulated firms use the courts to enforce debts and;
- help lenders to make more informed credit decisions.
Lex Jones, CEO of Registry Trust Ltd which has been campaigning for the inclusion of claimant data on the Register for some time and is encouraging other organisations across the debt landscape to take part in the consultation, says:
“There are multiple benefits to adding claimant data to the public Register, not least of all for the defendants themselves. Should the response to the consultation be positive, we anticipate improvements in court efficiencies due to decreased workload in query handling; visibility of ‘problem’ companies or sectors for regulators; greater understanding of the effects of policy making for Treasury and other departments; increased financial inclusion for those currently unable to access a reputable credit market; and improvements in data matching and accuracy across the credit information sector. [This is] needed to improve the credit data that underpins so many of the decisions that we take every single day.”
The consultation is open for 8 weeks and will close on 16/01/2024. After considering the consultation responses, and if the decision to proceed is made, MoJ plans to lay Regulations in Parliament to allow HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to provide Registry Trust Ltd with the names of claimants for publication on the Register.