A money judgement is a court order requiring a debtor to pay a sum of money to the creditor by a specified date.
Although a creditor may obtain judgement against the debtor, this may not be the end of the matter as the debtor may not be in a financial position to make the payment; it is then for the creditor to decide how best to enforce the judgement:
- The County Court Bailiff – An application can be made for a Warrant of Execution, this allows a Bailiff to attend the debtor’s premises to seize assets to satisfy the debt. It is important to be aware that Bailiffs have no power to force entry into residential premises and it is not always easy to obtain goods to the value of the debt, particularly if the debtor has removed the goods first.
- Attachment of Earnings Order – This allows for the creditor to compel the debtor’s employer to make regular deductions from the debtor’s earnings and pay them to court. The court must take in to account the debtor’s circumstances and living expenses, the result can be the court ordering repayment in relatively small instalments. Of course, the debtor must be in gainful employment!
- A Charging Order – Where a debtor has an interest in property, a Charging Order may be obtained against that interest. A Charging Order means that when the property is sold, the debtor must satisfy the debt out of the proceeds. Searches of the Land Register can be made to investigate the extent of someone’s ownership of property and any charges or mortgages already secured against their property.
- Third Party Debt Order – Where a creditor is aware that the debtor is owed money by a third party or where the debtor’s bank or building society account is in credit, the creditor may make an application for the third party, bank or building society to pay that sum to the creditor in full or partial payment of the debt. An application can be made without notice being given to the debtor, however, the creditor will first need knowledge of the debtor’s bank or building society accounts.
- Bankruptcy/Liquidation – This can be an expensive and potentially risky option which is only worth considering if you are owed a significant amount of money and there are no or few other secured or unsecured creditors. Before issuing a Bankruptcy Petition (against an individual) or a Winding-Up Petition (against a company), you may serve a Statutory Demand which does not involve expensive court fees and may encourage the debtor to ‘show their hand’ and thus indicate if they have anything to lose.
For specialist advice on how to enforce your Judgement, or indeed in relation to aspect of debt recovery, please telephone our Litigation Team on 01267 237441.