Enforcing a Judgement

By Hasnain Shah

Once a claimant has been successful in obtaining a judgement against the defendant in civil proceedings, the defendant will normally pay the amount he has been ordered to pay without any further process required.

If however, the defendant fails to pay the amount stated in the court order, the claimant will have to take swift action in order to enforce the judgment.

Prior to going ahead with one of enforcement methods, it is advisable to do the background checks on the debtor, in order to find out about any assets they own or any potential source of income. This can help establish if the other party is able to pay but just refusing to do so.

There are several methods of enforcement available, these include:

  • A warrant of execution - this option gives bailiffs the authority to take goods from the defendant’s home or business. The bailiffs will either recover the amount owed or recover goods and sell them at auctions. This method can only be used for debts of less than £5,000
  • An attachment of earnings order - this order is sent to the debtor’s employer. The order allows for a certain amount to be taken from the defendant’s wages and sent to the claimant. This can be a very effective method has the debtor has no control in this. However, it can only provide the judgement debt in instalments
  • A third party debt order - this order is used to stop the debtor taking money out from their bank account. The amount owed to the claimant is paid directly from the account. This order can also be used in the instance where the debtor is in fact owed money by any third party
  • A charging order - if the debtor owns a property, it is possible to have a charge registered on the property so that the outstanding debt is secured for when the property is sold. If it is a large debt owed, then an order for sale can also be granted

A solicitor or a debt recovery firm can assist by advising on the most appropriate orders and guiding you through the application process and, if necessary, conduct the corporate investigation prior to applying for an enforcement order.

To discuss your options concerning enforcing a judgment, please call Contact Law on 0800 1777 162 or fill out the web form.

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