There are several ways a court can enforce a judgment for you, whether it's a company that owes you money or an individual.
If a company owes you money, here are some options available to you below:
Using bailiffs is the most popular and arguably most cost effective way to redeem money owed to you. Which type of bailiff and how much power they have to enforce payment is dependent on how much your debtor owes. If your debt is under £600, a warrant of execution will be issued to the debtor giving 7 days to pay their invoice, if they fail to do this, the bailiffs will be sent by the County Court.
If the debt owed is higher than £600, your case will be escalated up to the High Court with an application for a ‘Writ of Control’ which will need to be signed off by a Judge. Once this has been approved, a High Court Enforcements Officer’ (HCEO) will send the debtor a Notice of Enforcement, giving 7 working days to satisfy the judgment in full. If the judgment still isn’t settled the HCEO will attend the debtors business and demand immediate payment. If the debtor refuses or is unable to make full immediate payment on the judgment, the HCEO would seize tangible assets to be sold at auction, which would provide the payment for your invoice.
This option is available if an individual or a business owes you money; it is a means of securing the debt owed to you against a property your debtor owns. If your application is granted, the Courts will first issue an Interim Charging Order, which is then filed with the Land Registry. You will then need to attend a hearing to decide if the order is justified and if the Courts are going to make it binding.
If the Courts agree in your favour, you have two options. The first is to wait until the property is re-mortgaged or sold; when this happens the money owed to you will be taken out of the equity. The second option is to force the issue by taking out an Order for the sale of the property.
Winding-up Petition action
If the debt owed to you is from a company that is still currently solvent and they owe you more than £750, you can apply to the courts to have the company closed down through a winding-up petition if the debt is past 21 days overdue. When the company is closed down, its assets will be sold to settle its debt. This is by far the most serious action that can be taken against your company and it is often preceded by a statutory demand. It’s a stringent process and the debt owed to you must be absolutely proven. If there are any disputes about pricing, product quality or any accountancy errors, these need to be ironed out first. It is also worth noting that if any other creditors have secured a claim against this business previously, their debt will get priority.
If an individual owes you money, you can take the below routes:
Attachment of Earnings Order
If you are dealing with an individual that is employed by a company, you can ask the courts to apply an Attachment of Earnings Order. This will require their employer to deduct a percentage or certain amount of their salary regularly as repayment to you until the debt has been settled. Usually, a letter from your solicitor detailing your intensions to your debtor will be enough to get some co-operation as many employees may not want their employer to discover their financial situations.
A bankruptcy petition is an application to the court to seize someone's personal assets and sell them to pay their debt. Similar to a winding-up petition, but for individuals. You need to present your petition and prove you are owed £5,000 or more, there are also court fees that need to be paid.
Whatever route you choose to go down, we would always advise you get professional help as some processes can be complicated and time-consuming.
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