Enforcement – Debt Recovery

There are various ways to enforce payment of a judgment debt, but success will largely depend on:

  • What information is known about the debtor
  • The debtor’s current circumstances
  • Whether the debtor is a limited company or an individual

The main methods are as follows:

Enforcement Agents
(High Court Enforcement Officer/County Court Bailiff)

Enforcement Agents have the power to seize and sell the debtor’s goods to cover the amount of the debt. They will try to contact the debtor to allow them an opportunity to pay the debt, often by instalments. The debtor’s goods cannot always be removed. For example, the agents cannot remove essential household items, tradesman’s tools, or goods subject to hire purchase or rental agreements. Also, they won’t take goods if they are not worth enough to pay the warrant after the costs of removal and sale. It is important to remember that Enforcement Agents only have a right of peaceful entry so they cannot use force to enter a debtor’s premises.

Charging Order

This is a process which enables a judgment creditor to secure payment of the judgment debt upon any equity in a debtor’s property. If a Charging Order is granted, the judgment creditor can register a charge over the debtor’s property with the Land Registry. This way, when the debtor eventually sells the property or there is a change in title, the judgment creditor should get paid, provided there is sufficient equity. The use of Charging Orders has increased massively in recent years and is the enforcement option of choice when creditors are faced with debtors who are asset-rich but cash-poor.

Third Party Debt Order

If you know that the debtor has money held by a third party, you can make an application to the court to prevent the debtor’s access to that money and have it paid direct to you. The most common application of this method is against the bank account of the judgment debtor. A Third Party Debt Order requires the third party to pay the cash owed to the judgment debtor direct to the judgment creditor in order to satisfy the judgment debt.

Attachment of Earnings

If the judgment debtor is employed, Attachment of Earnings is often the most effective method of enforcement. This order can be made against wages, salaries, fees etc but not against self-employed income. This order requires an employer to make regular deductions from the judgment debtor’s earnings and make payments into court in order to satisfy the judgment debt.

Enforcement – Debt Recovery

If you would like further information on enforcement of judgment debt or wish to receive advice, contact our team now without obligation by calling 0800 088 6280 or email enquiries@rotherasharp.co.uk