There are various enforcement methods available post judgment to help ensure you actually receive the money owed to you or your business. The most appropriate will often depend on your circumstances and how much debt is owed.
The most common form of enforcement is the appointment of a High-Court Enforcement Officer (commonly known as a bailiff). This particular method can work for both individuals and businesses and is a simple and straightforward procedure. It is often the quickest way of getting paid after a judgment. Essentially the officer will seize and sell the debtor’s goods in order to raise funds to satisfy the debt. This method is reliant however, on the debtor having enough goods to reach the debt threshold.
Alternatively, you may be able to seek an attachment of earnings order (AOE). This method is only applicable to individual debtors who are employed rather than self-employed. An AOE is a fairly inexpensive method and the money is automatically deducted from the debtor’s wages each month. Given the nature of an AOE, this process is only suitable for creditors who are willing to accept payment by instalments.
A third party debt order is another option available although these are not widely used. In practice, a third party debt order would be made against a bank where a credit balance was held. A court application is required to use this form of enforcement and you are required to provide the debtors bank account details. Upon receipt of the court order, the bank would freeze the funds in the debtors account and provide them to you to discharge the debt. Of course, if there are insufficient funds in the account, the debt will not be fulfilled.
You may also be able to apply for a charging order whereby you can secure the debt over property owned by the debtor. Although not a quick method of enforcement, we find this option is attractive to anyone with larger debts. Interest continues to run on the sum secured from the date of judgment to the eventual receipt of the monies. Once the charging order has been obtained, an order for sale of the property can be sought and the monies realised. This method is only worthwhile if there is equity in the property.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.