Even if your legal action is successful, you may need to enforce judgement against the other party because they still fail to pay you.
You can apply to the court for an order to obtain information from the debtor about their financial circumstances, which involves them going to court to be questioned under oath. The type of information you can ask for includes:
- details of employment status (such as employer and earnings) and any other income;
- details of dependants and any outgoings paid from income;
- whether they own any property which could be sold to meet the debt; and
- whether they hold any money in bank or building society accounts.
This information will give you a clearer picture of whether it’s worth enforcing judgement against them.
If you decide to proceed with enforcing judgement, the following options are available:
Warrant of execution
This allows court bailiffs to take goods from your debtor’s home or business and the goods will be sold at auction.
Attachment of earnings order
This usually applies to an individual person in employment.The employer is ordered to make deductions from the person’s wages or salary.
Third-party debt order
This is where the court orders a ‘freeze’ on money held by a person, institution or organisation, which might otherwise be paid to a defendant against whom you have a judgement. The order will prevent withdrawal of the money until the court decides whether all or part of it should be paid to you.
The court places a ‘charge’ on the debtor’s property which is equivalent to the amount you are owed. A charging order does not oblige the debtor to sell their property, but if they do, they must pay you before they can take the rest of the proceeds.
If you believe that you can’t recover your debt using the methods above, you can apply to the court to approve a receiver, who you have selected, to conduct an ‘equitable execution’. This involves the receiver collecting money which the debtor is owed by other people, such as rent due on properties they own, in order to repay you.
Winding up or bankruptcy
As last resort you can apply for a bankruptcy or winding-up petition, to stop the individual or business from continuing to trade.