Additional Enforcement Options for Claimants
In the majority of cases, once a judgment is entered against a party, the terms of the order are complied with, and the judgment debt is paid. However, where this is not the case, the judgment creditor will need to consider enforcing the judgment to recover the debt.
Below provides an insight into the different methods available to creditors to enforce a judgment.
This is a means of securing a judgment debt against the judgment debtor’s property. Although it won’t result in immediate payment, it means that the debtor cannot sell the property without paying what is owed, provided there is enough equity.
If the judgment debt is of high value, the judgment creditor can take a pro-active approach and apply to the Court for an Order for Sale to force the sale of the judgment debtor’s property.
Attachment of Earnings
If the judgment debtor is employed and is refusing to pay the debt and has no other assets, this is often an effective method of enforcement.
This order can be made against earned wages but not against self-employed income.
The order requires an employer to regularly make deductions from the judgment debtor’s salary and make payments into the Court in order to satisfy the judgment debt.
Third Party Debt Order
This is an appropriate enforcement method when the judgment debtor himself is owed money by a third party.
The most common application of this method is against the bank account of the judgment debtor.
A Third Party Debt Order requires the third party to pay the debt owed directly to the judgment creditor to satisfy the judgment debt.
Execution Against Goods (Taking Control of Goods)
This is the most common method of enforcement and is most effective when the judgment debtor has goods of value but is refusing to pay.
A High Court Enforcement Officer is instructed to seize and sell the goods to satisfy the debt plus the costs of enforcement.
Which method to use?
Deciding which method to use can be difficult if information about the debtor’s ability to pay is not known. Creditors can, therefore, request the Court interview the debtor to establish what assets they have. This process is done via an order to obtain information.
An order to obtain information requires a judgment debtor to attend Court, and under oath disclose information about their:
- Employment status, employer, and wage
- Bank accounts and savings
- Assets such as property, vehicles, collectables, etc
- Regular outgoings and expenses