Got a Judgement?: How to Get Paid

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Got A Judgment? How To Get Paid

If you want to get paid the money owed to you on a Judgment you will have to use the right method of Enforcement to be successful. If you have a final return from the County Court Bailiff don't be too disheartened it doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't there, more likely that the Bailiff just hasn't been able to contact them or seize any goods.

There are two basic types of Judgment that you will get:

1). Default Judgment where the debtor has not bothered to answer any documentation from the Court or has failed to file a Defence. When this is obtained the debtor can apply to have it Set Aside, (Enforcement stopped and the whole thing go back to a Hearing) if you try to Enforce it within 28 days of it being granted. After this period they will have to have a good reason.

2). After a Hearing or Determination from a Judge after considering the evidence. This can be enforced immediately.

Enforcement Procedures in order of preference.

1). Charging Order £55.00

2). Order to Attend £45.00 Not strictly a method of Enforcement.

3). 3rd Party Debt Order £55.00

4). Warrant of Execution: up to £125 -£35.00 over £125- £55.00 over £600.00 Issue a Writ of Fi Fa through the S.L.C. (Sheriffs Lodgement Centre).

5). Statutory Demand £751.00 or over, Bankruptcy for Individual, Winding Up Order for Company

6). Attachment of Earnings Order £65.00

1). Charging Order

Carry out a Property Search on the address (H.M. Land Registry., and obtain a Title Register: cost £3.00. If the property is owned by the Debtor, file an Application for a Charging Order at the Court (cost £55.00) once it has been filed with the Court you will receive An Interim Charging Order which you can file with the Land Registry against the property. You will then be given a Hearing for the Charging Order to be made Final and once this is granted you can have this registered on the property. If the Property is solely owned by the debtor you can have a full Charge registered, but if it is jointly owned and the Judgment is not in both names you will be given a Restriction.

This will not necessarily get you payment but will stop them getting any loans or being able to sell the house.

2). Order to Attend

Application for the Debtor or Officer of a Company to attend Court and give a detailed statement of their means and Assets. Enables you to obtain Bank/ Building Society Details that can have a 3rd Party Debt Order lodge against or vehicle details for a Warrant of Execution, Employment Details for an Attachment of Earnings Order or 3rd Party Debt Order against anybody that owes them money.

It also has the benefit that if they fail to turn up at the hearing another Order will be issued informing them that they can be sent to prison for Contempt of Court should they fail to turn up.

If you sued the debtor in your own name as an individual the Court will normally serve these documents, but again the Court Bailiff’s aren’t that efficient. If they fail to achieve service then ask the Court for the documents to be returned to you for “Personal Service”. You can then serve them yourself or employ a Process Server to do the job for you normally about £45.00. If you did not sue as an Individual the Court will return the documents to you for service.

3). 3rd Party Debt Order

This is an Order from the Court to a person or entity that owes the debtor money, including Banks, Building Societies or clients and contracts as in the case of a self employed person or company. It will to all intent freeze a Bank Account up to the amount of your debt. The 3rd Party will be Ordered by the Court not to pay out any monies to the debtor except where there are sufficient funds over the amount claimed. There will be a Hearing listed where the 3rd party will be requested to attend if they dispute the Order. If they do not dispute the Order and have not informed you that there are insufficient funds to satisfy the Order the Court will make a Final Order for the money to be paid to you.

4). Warrant of Execution or High Court Writ

This is where the Bailiff (either the County Court of the Sheriff’s High Court Enforcement Officer) is issued with a Warrant to Seize Goods belonging to the Debtor and have them sold if the debt isn’t paid. It is only effective where the Bailiff can obtain “Peaceful Entry” into the debtors address to seize goods. There is no legal right currently for a County Court Bailiff or Sheriff’s Officer to enter domestic property in order to seize goods, however this does not apply to commercial premises. For debts exceeding £600.00 the Sheriff is a far better option as he will charge a commission to the debtor and also must be used for debts over £5,000.00.

5). Statutory Demand: Debt over £751.00 not payable by instalment’s

This is not in fact a Court document, but one that can be issued by anybody that is owed an un-disputed debt. Therefore if you have a Judgment it is a legitimate method of Enforcement and is very effective. It is a precursor to Bankruptcy in the case of an Individual or a Winding Up Order in the case of a Limited Company or Partnership.

An Individual is given 21 days to pay the debt or Apply to have it Set Aside, (grounds are needed for this), if they fail to Pay then you can have them Declared Bankrupt. This can be expensive and it is not recommended that you proceed without using a suitably qualified person (Solicitor or somebody that knows what they are doing).You might not want to actually declare them Bankrupt, and it is not compulsory for you do so, but the thought of this can certainly have a dramatic effect on a debtor. This document will need to be served on the debtor and it is best to use a Process Server to do so, as they will serve it Personally (hand it to the debtor) and complete an Affidavit of Service for you.

A Limited Company is given 18 days to reply and cannot apply to have the Demand Set Aside. You can lodge for the company to be Wound Up after 21 days from the service of the documents on them. It is also best if this document is served on the debtor personally and it is best to use a process Server to do so, this document can be served at the Registered Office of the debtor or any business premises that they normally use. The Registered Office is always best and again an Affidavit of Service to prove this will be completed by the Process Server.

In any case with a Limited Company you should always check with Companies House to see whether the Company has any Notices filed against it to be Wound Up before proceeding.

6). Attachment of Earnings Order

This is most probably the least effective method of Enforcement as once you have applied for it the Court will send the debtor a form with an option for voluntary payments before making an order against their employer. You have the right to object to any such offer but it is unlikely that the Court will uphold you objections. Most voluntary offer start out O.K. then the debtor forgets to pay. You then have to go back to the Court and ask for an Order to be made against the employer and if they have left the employment in the meantime you are back to putting them back on an Order to Attend to find out where they are working. You cannot apply this method to a Self Employed person.

This is not designed to be the be all and end all of Enforcement Procedures, but hopefully it will give the reader a better insight into the methods that are available and is for reference as a general guide.