Understanding Enforcement Options

There are various options open to a Judgment Creditor to enforce Judgment against the debtor. We have described the choices below and given an indication of the costs involved if you wanted to instruct ourselves to help you enforce your judgment.


Warrant of Control

You could instruct County Court bailiffs to attend the debtor’s premises and seize goods to the value of the Judgment debt.  This could be effective as it is potentially highly embarrassing for the debtor, but if they do not have goods to the value of the Judgment debt then it may not realise sufficient or any money.  In our experience, County Court bailiffs are easily persuaded to accept a payment “sometime in the future” and are much less aggressive than the private bailiffs that have been portrayed in the media.  The Court fee for applying for a Warrant of Control is £100 and if you wanted us to deal with it then our charges would be £125 to £250 plus VAT.

High Court Warrant

For Judgment debts over £600, you can apply for your Judgment to be enforced in the High Court by Sheriffs.  Sheriffs are High Court bailiffs and tend to be more effective than County Court bailiffs at obtaining payment as they are employed privately and are paid on commission.

You would need to apply for a Writ of Control which would incur a Court fee of £66.  The Sheriffs’ charges vary but would be added to the Judgment debt and if they fail to secure payment they would charge an abortive fee of around £75 plus VAT.  Our charges would be £125 to £250 plus VAT.

Attachments of Earnings

This is only relevant if the debtor is an individual and is employed.  The debtor’s employer will be required to pay a proportion of the debtor’s wages to the court, which will charge a fee and pay the balance to you.  You will need to know the debtor’s employment details and the order will need to be served on his employer.  The application fee is £100 and our charges would be £125 to £250 plus VAT.

Charging Order

If the debtor has any assets such as property then you could apply for a Charging Order which means that your debt would be secured against the debtor’s property, much like a mortgage.  When the debtor’s property is sold you would recover your debt from the proceeds of sale.  Forcing the sale of the asset is a separate application and is unlikely to be granted unless the debt is substantial.

The Court fee for a Charging Order is £100 and you would need to prepare an application for an interim charging order and serve this together with the necessary documentation on the relevant parties.  You would then need to attend court with the relevant documentation to obtain a Final Charging Order.  Our fees for carrying out this work and attending court (provided it is reasonably local) would be £500 to £750 plus VAT.

Third Party Debt Order

This is only possible if you know the debtor’s bank account details which you can typically get from any previous cheques received from the debtor, or possibly from any electronic payments received.  We advise clients to serve the interim Order on the debtor’s bank towards the end of the month before salaries are paid as it freezes whatever money is in the debtor’s account at the time it is served on the bank.  However, if no money is in the bank account at the time of service then no money will be recovered.

The Court fee is £100 and you would need to prepare an application for an interim third party debt order and serve this on the relevant bank or financial institution together with the necessary documentation.  You would then need to attend court with the relevant documentation to obtain a Final Third Party Debt Order.  Our fees for carrying out this work and attending court (provided it is reasonably local) would be £500 to £750 plus VAT.

Statutory Demand

Serving a Statutory Demand is the first step to making an individual bankrupt or a company insolvent.  This is only really effective if the debtor does not want to go bankrupt/insolvent otherwise you will spend a considerable sum of money in fees and costs making the debtor bankrupt or insolvent without necessarily recovering any money.   The fact that you are the Petitioning Creditor or that you have Judgment against the debtor does not give you any priority in a bankruptcy/insolvency and you will simply rank as another unsecured creditor alongside all the other creditors of the debtor.

Our charges will depend greatly on the individual circumstances of each case, but the first step is to serve a Statutory Demand which would normally cost £125 to £250 plus VAT in fees.  There is no Court fee but there would be an agency fee of around £90 plus VAT for serving the Statutory Demand personally on the debtor via a Process Server. 

Further information

If you cannot decide which enforcement route to use then you can apply to obtain further information from the Judgment Debtor.  The debtor is required to attend court and answer questions about his finances.  The creditor can also attend and ask specific questions.  The Order is backed up with the power of arrest if the debtor fails to attend on 3 occasions, provided the creditor offers to pay the debtor’s travel expenses.  The application fee is £50 and our fees would be £125 to £250 plus VAT.  There would also be a fee of £100 for serving the Order on the debtor personally via a court Bailiff.

 

Further Reading:

Debt Recovery

 

 

 
Options for Enforcement of Judgment
If you require further information about the options for enforcement of a judgment, please do not hesitate to contact Justin Sadler at Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Telephone: 0118 958 9711

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