Enforcing Judgements

'A judgement is merely a piece of paper', was a phrase that our very keen Law Society lecturer imparted to us regularly whilst studying a Law School. At the time, I did not appreciate what he meant, but after many years conducting litigation I realise that it is a very true statement. The judgement represents the conclusion of much work and effort in bringing proceedings..... You have succeeded with your claim, but in some ways the real work starts now, as you try to make that judgement count for something - it needs to be enforced.

That is why at the outset of the case, thought should be given to the question as to whether the judgement debtor could pay any debt, even if the judgement is obtained. There are a number of enforcement options available, if the creditor fails to pay:

Attachment of Earnings Order
Where a judgement debtor is employed, the court may order an employer to deduct periodic amounts direct from the debtor's earnings.

Charging Order
In certain circumstances the court will impose a charge over the judgement debtor's property providing a security for the debt.

Warrants of Execution
Bailiffs are used to take goods from the judgement debtor to pay the judgement sum

Third Party Debt Order
The court orders a third party, who owes the judgement debtor money, to pay this debt to the judgement creditor instead, in settlement of their judgement.

Obtaining information from a judgement debtor
Whilst not enforcement as such, it may be useful to compel the judgement debtor to attend court to give information on oath regarding their means to pay.

As a last resort, insolvency legislation may be used, but creditors should consider the affects of any bankruptcy on their ability to recover the full sum of the judgement debt.

Sarginsons Law LLP has substantial experience in all aspects of debt recovery work and if you require any further information please contact: Katie Kearns on 024 7655 3181