Enforcement Of Judgments
Many people embarking on litigation through the courts think the hard part is obtaining the judgment, entitling them to damages. Regrettably, this can often be easy part as actually extracting the money from a judgment debtor can be tricky.
The debtor may simply refuse to pay and simply ignore requests for payment or may simply not have the means, there and then, to pay.
The courts will not automatically take action to enforce the judgement against the judgement debtors. As the successful party to litigation it is you that must actively take steps to enforce the judgement. There are several ways to do this. A few of these are described below.
Taking Control of Goods
This entails applying to the court for an Enforcement Officer (previously known as a bailiff or a sheriff) to seize goods from the judgement debtor and selling these - usually by public auction. The profits of the sale of these goods then go to satisfy the judgement payment.
However, not all goods can be seized - some are exempt (eg. basic domestic items) and some goods are subject to third party rights (eg. co-owners or other creditors).
Third Party Debt Orders
This process involves applying to the court to make an order requiring a third party to pay you the judgement debt. This is commonly used for money held by the judgement creditor in a bank account or other business debts owed to the debtor. This essentially bypasses having the money paid first to the debtor by the third party, and waiting for the debtor to pay you. Instead you are paid directly.
Charging Orders over Land
You can also apply for a charging order over land owned by your debtor. This by itself does not produce any money to satisfy the judgement debt but once the charging order is final, you can make an application for an Order for Sale. Specific procedures apply and these must be followed if this is a suitable way to enforce judgment.
How we can help
Beyond the few methods described here, there are numerous other ways to enforce a judgement. One method may be more suitable than another depending on your current situation. For example, if your judgement debtor owns property but does not have many other assets, a charge over their property may be more suitable than a third party debt order.
Here at Saunders Law, we aim to provide you with the best possible advice to suit you or your business's commercial and personal needs. As specialists in civil litigation, we have the experience and the expertise not only to skilfully deal with the litigation process but also to capably resolve enforcement issues - including foreign judgements.
For an initial, free, no obligation discussion on how we can assist you.
Call us on 020 7632 4300 or make an enquiry online.