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Changes to the Civil Debt Enforcement System

Winning your case in court does not mean you actually get paid. Usually, the successful party must take steps to enforcement the judgment in order to actually get paid.

From 14 April 2014 changes will take effect, which are designed to make enforcing a debt quicker, simpler and more cost effective.

Depending on what Court you obtain judgment from, different enforcement options are available.

Key changes

• Order for Examination: An Order for Examination is a hearing at Court where the debtor is required to present their financial situation to the Court.

From 14 April, more options will be available to assess the financial means of a debtor. This can now be based on financial information filed by either party. This may also be completed by phone, without the creditor being present, and without the need for a formal hearing.

• Attachment Orders: An attachment order requires the debtor's employer to deduct a portion for their wages or benefit and send that deduction to you.

Previously, an attachment order could only be obtained following an Order for Examination. From 14 April, either party will be able to apply for an attachment order, without an Order for Examination taking place.
Attachment orders will also be able to be agreed by both parties at a District Court, Tenancy Tribunal or Disputes Tribunal hearing.

Other enforcement options

• Distress Warrant: If an application is made, the Court will send a bailiff to the debtor's address to demand payment. If no payment is made, the bailiff can seize assets in lieu of payment.

• Garnishee Proceeding: If you know that someone else owes the debtor money, you can apply to the Court to get an order for that person to pay the money to you instead.

• Charging Order: If the debtor owns property, you can apply to have a notice put on the title to their property, preventing them from selling the property until the debt is paid.

If someone owes you money, come and talk to our debt collection team who can advise you on your debt enforcement options.

Written by Rebecca Catley at 09:00

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