We have various weapons to enforce a judgment debt (against a Judgment Debtor (“Debtor”). The weapons are aimed at a different aspect of the Debtor’s assets.
Goods owned (warrant of control);
Wages or salary (attachment of earnings order) [Individual only];
Savings or money owed by others (third-party debt order);
Assets such as property (charging order and order for sale).
We will choose one or more (we can use them at the same time) to ensure we recover the sums owed as well as our increased costs in taking such action(s).
We can also seek an Order to Obtain Information that requires the Debtor to attend court to provide full and honest information about their means and assets and any other matter that might be relevant to enable us to enforce judgment. TheDebtor may also be asked to produce documents (such as bank statements) and must answer on oath any questions the court may require to be answered. The court Order will contain a Penal Notice that will empower the court to commit the Debtor to prison for contempt in the event that the Order is not complied with.
[Strictly speaking, this is not a method of enforcement, only an Order that enables a Judgment Creditor to enforce the judgment.]
Warrants of Control
A Warrant of Control authorises court bailiffs or high court enforcement officers to attend at the Debtors home or business to either collect monies owed or to take goods from the home or business to sell at auction.
[There are limits to the types of goods that court bailiffs are empowered to remove and they cannot remove goods that are necessary to allow a debtor a basic standard of living or the tools of his trade or goods under hire-purchase or rental agreements].
Attachment of earnings order
This is sent to the Debtor’s employer. It tells the employer to take an amount from the Debtor’s earnings each pay day and send it to Alpha Collections (via a collection office).
[An order cannot be made if the defendant is unemployed or self-employed.]
Third Party Debt Order
A Third Party Debt Order directs a third party, usually a bank or building society, to pay money out of the Debtor’s account to satisfy the debt.
A Third Party Debt Order may also be served on anyone who owes the Judgment Debtor money so if a Judgment Debtor says they cannot pay because they are owed money by someone else then a Third Party Debt Order can attach to that third party so that they pay money to Alpha rather than the Debtor.
[We will need to have evidence as to the Judgment Debtors bank or building society accounts and/or as to any other debts
We cannot apply for a third party debt order against a joint bank account unless the judgment debt is a joint debt of all the account holders].
A Charging Order
A Charging Order attaches to land/property (usually their home) in the same way as a mortgage and prevents a Debtor from selling their land/property without paying what is owed to us the Creditor. Thereafter, we may be able to obtain anOrder for Sale in order to release sufficient money to pay the debt.
[Courts are generally reluctant to allow such an Order where (a) the level of the debt is low or low in comparison with the value of the asset and/or (b) anyone who is vulnerable, such as children or the elderly are living there. There usually needs to be a history of persistent default].
(If owed more than £5,000…) we can apply for an individual to be made bankrupt.
Effect of bankruptcy
The Debtor is no longer in control of its assets. Most financial matters are managed by an Official Receiver.
Any assets, like a house, car or other items of value, will usually be sold and the money from this will go towards the bankruptcy.
The Debtor can't during bankruptcy or while a bankruptcy restrictions order is in place, get credit (includes buying goods under a hire-purchase or conditional sale agreement) for more than £500 without disclosing that they are an undischarged bankrupt.
In some jobs, a record of bankruptcy may lead to dismissal, demotion or other issues. Some professional membership bodies don’t allow undischarged bankrupts to remain members.
Going bankrupt can affect some insurance policies (and bankruptcy may cancel some insurance policies, including vehicle insurance (it’s against the law to drive if you don’t have insurance), and building and contents insurance).
Bankruptcy will remain on the credit file for at least six yearsso Debtor may find it difficult to get any further credit, loansor a mortgage.
Bankruptcy can have adverse effects on your business and your pension. You also need to be aware that your bankruptcy is not confidential and will appear on a publicly-accessibleregister.
The Debtor can't, without the court's permission, act as a director of a company or be involved in the creation or management/running of a company.
While an undischarged bankrupt the Debtor can't trade under a new name to the one they became bankrupt in unless they make all customers and suppliers aware of the bankruptcy.
Winding Up Order
(If owed more than £750…) we can present a Winding Up Petition. The hearing of the Petition is advertised in the London Gazette.
[The fees for the presentation of the Petition are paid by us/the Petitioner and we would have no automatic entitlement to recover that money. We would be in no better position to recover the money than any other unsecured creditor. Preferential debts are paid first but beyond that, all other unsecured creditors rank equally.
The exception is if we have a charge over the bankrupts property which means we will take the benefit of the security provided there is sufficient equity in the secured property to satisfy us after any prior charges (such as mortgagee)].