Know Your Enforcement Options

Tuesday 2nd January 2018

Given the 33% increase in CCJs, it’s now more important than ever to know your enforcement options.

The number of county court judgments increased dramatically in 2017. Whilst the November to December 2017 statistics are yet to the released, the statistics for the rest of the year show an average increase of 33% when compared with the same period for 2016.

Although the rate of increase may slow due to the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims, given the dramatic increase, it is now more important than ever for a judgment creditor to understand their enforcement options once they have judgment.

So what enforcement options does a judgment creditor have?  The first step is to carefully consider the debtor’s financial position, and also take into account any information that has already been provided. Depending on the debtor’s financial position, the following enforcement methods are available:

Taking control of the goods

This involves instructing a certified enforcement agent to enter the judgment debtor’s premises and ‘take control’ of goods. The enforcement agent will sell those goods to satisfy the judgment debt.

Charging order over land or securities

A judgment debt may be enforced by securing a charge over the judgment debtor’s land or securities, to the value of the judgment debt.  If a charging order is obtained an order for sale can then be considered.

Third party debt orders

Where the judgment debtor is owed money from another party, the creditor can apply for an order that demands that other party pay to them what they owe to the judgment debtor.  This could include money in a bank account.

Attachment of earnings

This is a direction that the judgment debtor’s employer transfers a specified amount of their salary to the judgment creditor on a regular basis until the judgment debt is satisfied.

Insolvency Proceedings

Whilst not technically an enforcement method, if the debtor is insolvent, the creditor could commence insolvency proceedings such as bankruptcy or winding up.

The best option will entirely depend on the debtor’s circumstances and the money involved.  It is best practice to consider these prior to actually commencing proceedings so that the creditor knows what they can do if the debtor fails to pay.