Other Types of Enforcement
In many cases once judgment is entered against a party, the terms of the judgment are complied with and the money owed is paid. However, in some cases this does not happen and so it is necessary to consider methods for enforcing the judgment.
There are several different methods available to those seeking to enforce a judgment a brief description of each can be found below, together with how you might obtain information to assist in enforcing a judgment.
Execution Against Goods (Taking Control of Goods)
The most common method of enforcement allows the judgment creditor to enforce the judgment by seizing the goods of the judgment debtor which can ultimately be sold to pay the debt. A High Court Enforcement Officer or County Court Bailiff can be instructed to seize and sell the debtor's goods in order to satisfy the debt, legal costs and the costs of enforcement.
High Court Enforcement Officers and County Court Bailiffs have a series of rules to comply with in the enforcement of the Court’s judgment. The most important of these is that enforcement officers have no right to force entry into residential premises although they are entitled to force entry into commercial premises such as shops, offices, warehouses and even workshops at the debtor’s home which are not attached to the main home.
High Court Enforcement Officers and County Court staff can give you more information and support in enforcing your judgment if you decide to choose this method of enforcement.
Which Court can be used to enforce a judgment?
A High Court judgment can be enforced in the High Court regardless of the amount. Where a County Court judgment is enforced it will depend on the amount:
- £5,000 or more – must be enforced in the High Court
- £600 - £5,000 – either Court may be used
- Less than £600 – must be enforced in the County Court.
For further information about High Court Enforcement Officers, including how to access our services, please look at our “do you need the services of a High Court Enforcement Officer”
As an Association we are lobbying Government to allow High Court Enforcement Officers to be able to do more to assist the Civil Court enforcement system by changing the current Rules. Our campaign is to allow High Court Enforcement Officers to be able to enforce debts under £600 and debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act.
This is a means of securing a judgment debt against the judgment debtor’s property. Although it won’t automatically result in a payment it will secure the debt against the judgment debtor’s property and when the judgment debtor comes to sell the property or remortgage it, the charge should be paid from any available equity.
Alternatively 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.
This application is only usually made where the value of the debt is quite high.
Further information is available at: Charging Order
Attachment of Earnings
If the judgment debtor is employed but has no other assets this is often an effective method of enforcement.
This Order can be made against wages, salaries, fees etc 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.
Further information is available at: Attachment of Earnings
Third Party Debt Order
This is the appropriate 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. It can however also be used when a business is the judgment debtor and is owed money in the form of trade debts.
A Third Party Debt Order requires the third party to pay the debt owed to the judgment debtor directly to the judgment creditor in order to satisfy the judgment debt.
Further information is available at: Third Party Debt Order
Order to Obtain Information
This is appropriate when a Judgment Debtor is unprepared to disclose any assets that they might have in order to settle a debt, be they physical assets such as a car or art works, or Bank and saving accounts.
In these circumstances, you can request the Court to interview the debtor, to establish what assets the debtor might have, and where they might be located.
An Order to Obtain Information requires a Judgment Debtor to attend Court, and under oath disclose such information as their
- employment status, together with details of the employer and wages
- details of dependants, and outgoings
- details of additional income
- details of any properties owned
- details of Bank and savings accounts
Further information is available at: Order to obtain information
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