Have you obtained a judgment that remains unpaid? If the answer is ‘yes’, then Lyons Davidson’s specialist Enforcement Department can offer advice about the best method of debt recovery and enforcement action and can also carry out the work for you for a fixed fee, the cost of which may be partially recoverable from the debtor.
The key to successfully enforcing a judgment is being armed with as much information about the debtor as possible. If you are not aware of the debtor’s financial situation – or even their current whereabouts – then we are also able to offer a number of debt recovery services to help locate and establish further information about the debtor.
Having established the whereabouts and means of the debtor, the various types of enforcement action that Lyons Davidson’s specialist Enforcement Department can assist with are listed below.
Third-party debt order
This enables money that is due to the debtor but held with a third party to be paid over to you. A third-party debt order can be obtained against, for example:
- A bank or building society (but only where an account is in the sole name of the debtor). The account must also be in credit on the day the order is made;
- Tenants who pay rent to the debtor;
- Solicitors who may be holding money on behalf of the debtor.
A charging order may be obtained against a property that the debtor has an interest in. A charging order will provide security for the debt, provided there is equity in the property.
Once a charging order has been obtained, it is also possible to apply to the court for an order for the sale of the property, thereby realising the charging order resulting in the debt being paid (providing there is sufficient equity).
If you are not sure if the debtor has an interest in any properties, then we can carry out searches at the Land Registry to establish this.
Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers
If a judgment debt is under £600, we can instruct the County Court Bailiffs to attend the debtor’s address and attempt to collect the debt, either by receiving payment or seizing assets to the value of the debt. If the judgment debt is over £600, we can instruct High Court Enforcement Officers to attend the debtor’s address.
Attachment of earnings order for debt recovery
If you know the debtor’s employment details, we can apply for an attachment of earnings order, which allows money to be taken from the debtor’s wages in repayment of the judgment debt.
If you are unaware of the debtor’s employment details, our enquiry agent may be able to locate the information.
This can be used to determine which method of enforcement is appropriate. The debtor will be called to court and made to answer specific questions, and to provide requested documents. If an oral examination is used, it may reveal the employment status of the debtor and thus details of their employer, enabling us to enforce by way of an attachment of earnings order. Alternatively, it may reveal that the debtor owns property and a charging order can then be applied for.
Bankruptcy and winding-up orders
If the debtor is an individual who owes you more than £750, it is possible to seek a bankruptcy order against them. This can be an effective tool for debt recovery if you know that the debtor has sufficient assets to repay you and any other creditors that they may have. The statutory demand that is served prior to seeking a bankruptcy order can be an effective threat that encourages the debtor to pay. If the debtor is a company, then a winding-up order can be sought.
For more information on our fixed-fee service, on any of the issues raised in this article or for general information on Lyons Davidson’s specialist Enforcement Department, contact us on 0117 904 6000.