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Court orders and enforcement

If you have issued a claim for a debt and been successful, you need to know how you can make sure that the money owed to you is paid to you.
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After a successful claim, the court judgement will order the debt to be paid to you directly.

The first step is to send a Letter requesting payment and reminding the person who owes you the money of the terms of the court order.

If the party does not pay, check that they can afford to pay. If you don’t know much about their finances, you can apply to the court for an order that the person is questioned in court to establish their financial position.

The application is made on Form N316 (for an individual) or Form N316a (for a company).

Once you know the financial position of the debtor, the next step is to decide whether it’s worth applying to court for an enforcement order. You must pay a further fee to the court to start enforcement action. For more information, read Bailiffs.

In Scotland, before taking any enforcement action, you will need to issue a Debt Advice and Information package (DAIP)  It is a mandatory requirement for creditors to issue this to debtors. The creditor must deliver the DAIP within 48 hours of issuing the charge for payment.

A Warrant of Control gives a County Court bailiff authority to enter the property to collect the debt. If the debt is not paid the bailiff is authorised to remove and sell items to recover the money owed to you. Use County Court Form N323 to apply for a Warrant of Control.

If the debtor is an individual, the court can make an Attachment of Earnings Order. This directs the debtor’s employer to deduct an amount from the debtor’s earnings each payday, and send it to you. Use Form N337 to apply for an Attachment of Earnings Order.

If the person has assets in a bank or is owed money by another person the court can make a Third Party Debt Order. Use Form N349 to apply for a Third Party Debt Order.

If the person has land or property to their name, you can ask the court for a ‘charging order’. If such an order is made and the debtor sells their property, they will be obliged to pay the charge before they get any money from the sale. Use Form N379 to apply for a charging order.

An Attachment is a procedure that enables a creditor to seize and sell items of property owned by and in the possession of the debtor. However, there are certain rules on what the creditor can and cannot take (for example, vehicles worth £3,000 or less or items within a debtor’s home unless a further court order is obtained).

A Money Attachment allows the creditor to seize cash and cheques held within a debtor’s business premises. This is a particularly useful method of enforcement where the debtor operates a cash business such as a pub or shop.

An alternative method is an Arrestment. This allows a creditor to freeze monies in a debtor’s bank account or those which are due to a debtor and held by third parties. Monies obtained by an arrestment are released to the creditor after 14 weeks if the court judgment isn’t satisfied.

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