The combined value of UK debt judgments fell sharply last year, according to statistics collected from courts across the UK.

Figures released yesterday by Registry Trust, a non-profit company which runs a UK-wide register of judgment information, also show a rise in the use of online searches.

In the first six months of 2012, the total value of judgments dropped by 27.1% compared with the same period last year, from £1.49bn to £1.09bn. In the half year Registry Trust collected and processed 324,345 judgments in the UK, 43,525 fewer than the 367,870 registered in the first half of the previous year.

Registry Trust was set up in 1985 to operate the Registry of County Court Judgments for England and Wales. It now operates the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for England and Wales on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

It also maintains public records of judgment and decree information for other jurisdictions in the British Isles including Northern Ireland high court information and ordinary cause data from Scotland.