Methods of Enforcing Your Court Judgements

A winning party (“judgment creditor”) may obtain a judgment for a lump sum from the losing party (“judgment debtor”) however, this does not necessarily mean that the judgment debtor will voluntarily pay what is owed under the judgment.   The burden is on the judgement creditor to take enforcement steps.

If the judgment debtor fails to do so voluntarily by the date determined by the court, then the judgment creditor would need to consider commencing enforcement actions in order to seek recovery of the money owed to them under the judgment.

It is vital for judgment creditors to investigate the judgment debtor’s assets / financial position first before commencing lengthy litigation proceedings.

We have briefly set out below a number of enforcement methods a judgment creditor may commence upon receipt of a court judgment.

  1. Taking control of goods is suitable when the judgment debtor owns assets, and this allows an enforcement officer to seize the judgment debtor’s goods and sell them in order to use the proceeds of sale to satisfy the judgment debt. Goods that are exempt include the basic domestic needs and tools of trade. The County Court dealt with debt sum up to £600 and the High Court dealt with debt sum of more than £5000.
  2. Third-party debt orders allow the court to intercept money that is owed to the judgment debt, such as credit balance in the judgment debtor’s bank account and divert this to us in settlement of the judgment debt.
  3. Charging orders are suitable where the asset in question is considered a land, but this only provides security for the judgment debt and not payment. For payment, an order for sale will be necessary after the charging order has been obtained.
  4. Attachment of earning orders enables the judgment debtor’s salary to be intercepted and diverted to us in settlement of the judgment debt. It is important to bear in mind that only a small percentage will be deducted from their salary so if the judgment debtor is on a fairly low income then it could sometime before the debt is repaid.
  5. Insolvency proceedings are another effective way to obtain payment. The threat of bankruptcy of an individual or winding up of a company can often be enough to prompt payment, should the judgment debtor has assets available to pay.

If you have a judgment debt that you wish to enforce or require assistance in obtaining a judgment, please contact us. Our experienced civil and commercial litigation team can advise the best course of action for your case and commence the enforcement proceedings on your behalf to assist you in recovering the judgment debt.

Our experienced civil and commercial litigators have many years’ experience in supporting businesses and individuals through challenging times. We have provided a speedy, effective debt recovery services to all our clients’ needs.

Across our team, we speak many languages including Mandarin and Cantonese, Gujarati, Russian, Portuguese, Korean and Spanish. With access to our solicitors at two locations, one in City and one in Mayfair, we cover a very broad spectrum of varying clients needs.

How Can I Recover Debts Owed To Me Or My Company?

If money is owed to you by either a business or individual Chan Neill Solicitors is able to assist in recovery of this money dealing with anything from letters of claim up to, and if necessary, the issue of legal proceedings and providing representation at court.

The Procedure of Recovery of Debt From an Individual or Business

The first step when looking to recover a debt is for our lawyers to understand what the debt refers to, the amount that is owed and a full breakdown of that figure.  We would also need to know any interim or part payments that may have been made for that debt or if any response has been received from the debtor in relation to the money owed.

Once we are satisfied that you do have a claim against a debtor the next step is to draft a letter of claim.  The content and structure of the letter of claim differs as to whether the claim is against an individual or a business.

Claims Against an Individual

If you are looking to pursue an individual for monies owed then the letter of claim needs to contain certain information including, but not limited to, the amount that is owed, a full breakdown of the figure, the amount of interest owed and the costs that would also be payable if proceedings are issued.  It is also necessary to include with the letter of claim a copy of a reply form and information sheet.  The individual must also be given 30 days from receipt of the letter of claim in which to respond before any legal action can be taken.

If an individual does respond to the letter of claim either on the reply form sent or by email/telephone, we would be obliged to act reasonably and in a cooperative manner when dealing with them.  What this means that if, for example, the debtor wished to repay the debt but only could afford to do so over an extended period of time because of financial commitments then we would be obliged to negotiate and cooperate with them in this regard.  Should the court discover that we haven’t been cooperative then we risk our claim being struck out if legal proceedings are issued prematurely.

In terms of claiming debt from a business the rules are more relaxed.  It is not necessary to allow a business 30 days in which to respond and you just have to afford them a reasonable period of time i.e. 14 days before you can issue legal proceedings.  The business does also not need to be sent the relevant paper work an individual would or be provided an estimate for the costs and interest if legal proceedings become necessary.

Issuing Proceedings

If the letters of claim are ignored then legal proceedings may be the only option.  Depending on the value of the amount that is owed will depend on the cost of issuing the proceedings (the issue fee) and the legal costs (solicitors fee).  Should the amount owed be above £10,000.00 then the legal costs can potentially be recovered from the other side on top of the debt.

Below are the different type of claims depending on the size of the debt.

Small Claims Track – claims below £10,000.

Claims below £10,000 are processed under the small claim procedure in England and Wales. This procedure is one of the most cost-effective solutions. However, the costs of these proceedings are almost never fully imposed on the losing party.

Fast Track – Claims between £10,000 and £25,000.

The fast track procedure deals with undisputed cases with a value between £10,000 and £25,000. As these proceedings often take more time to process than the small claims track, the costs of this procedure are often (partly) passed on to the losing party.

Multi Track – claims above £25,000.

For complex or disputed claims above £25,000, the multi-track procedure should be followed. On average, these procedures take longer than small claims and fast track procedures. In this procedure, the judge can also decide that the losing party must pay all legal costs.

After Judgment Obtained

If we are successful in obtaining Judgment either in default or after a hearing/trial then we can actively seek to look to recover the money for you with the help of bailiffs (if necessary) or potentially by way of charging order if the debtor owns a property.

Should you wish to discuss any of the matters talked about above or if you wish to look to instruct us, please contact us. Our team speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian etc. Our offices are in Mayfair and the city should you wish to see us in person.