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Enforcement of Judgement

Posted
March 29, 2017
Business Litigation

The good news is that you have successfully secured a judgment against someone who owes you money. The bad news is that this does not necessarily mean that they will comply with the judgment order and repay you the money. If this is the case, then you need to consider enforcing the judgment. Before you take enforcement action, you need to ensure that you have given the debtor an opportunity to pay the judgment debt. If you have done this, and they still have not shown any signs or willingness to pay, or made an application to set aside the judgment, then you can take steps to enforce the judgment. This can be done in a number of ways, and it’s dependent on whether the debtor is a company or an individual. You need to investigate to see what assets they have. stevensdrake can assist with taking steps to do some investigation work, for example, find out if they own property, if they are working, etc. If you do not have to act quickly, for example, you know that the debtor isn’t trying to dissipate assets, then there are a number of enforcement methods you can consider, with the main methods being:

  1. Taking control of goods: you can take advantage of the county court’s bailiffs, or apply to transfer enforcement to the high court and use high court enforcement officers. The bailiffs will then cease any assets they have, such as TV, computers etc, anything which belongs to the debtor solely and is not for work use etc, and then auction them off for recover money towards the judgment debt.
  2. Charging order on their property: this of course is only an option if the debtor is a property owner. Having a charge on the property will prevent the owner from selling that property without paying you what is owed, providing there is enough equity. This method is most effective when the debt is of the larger amount, the property owner is the sole owner (although it can be used if there is a joint owner) and there is a substantial amount of equity in the property.
  3. Attachment of earnings: if the debtor is employed, you can apply for a proportion of their salary to be deducted by their employer and paid to you until the debt is paid. This is only available for county court judgment, although high court judgments can be transferred to the county court for the purposes of obtaining this order.
  4. Insolvency proceedings: bankruptcy against an individual or company liquidation. This is a complicated method of enforcement, and you should seek specific advice before starting this process.

The type of enforcement methods available to you, does greatly depend on the judgment and the specific circumstances and assets of the debtor. It is important to seek specific advice before you take enforcement action, to avoid using the wrong method, and wasting money on enforcement which is not available to you. Our litigation team at stevensdrake have specialist knowledge in the enforcement process and take tailor advice to your specific judgment. If you would like further information about enforcing a judgment, then please contact us

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