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Enforcement of judgments

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Enforcement of judgments

Enforcement in England and Wales

Once you have obtained a judgment against the debtor, the debt will usually be paid without further action being necessary.  However, sometimes the debtor fails to pay, and you may need to take steps to enforce the judgment debt.  We can agree costs in advance to help you decide whether enforcement action is worthwhile.

The common methods of enforcement are as follows:

Taking control of goods

We will engage an enforcement agent on your behalf.  The enforcement agent, known as a High Court Enforcement Officer (or Enforcement Officer in the County Court), will attend the debtor’s home or business premises to seize goods to sell at auction and pay the judgment debt and costs, and the costs of enforcement.

Costs include a court fee of £66 to obtain the writ of control (or warrant of control in the County Court).  The enforcement agent will deal with obtaining the write and update us once they are able to proceed with enforcement.  We will then wait to be informed as to the outcome of the enforcement action.

Where the debt is recovered, the court fee and enforcement agent’s costs will be added to the amount recovered from the debtor.  However, where the debt has not been able to be recovered, the enforcement agent will charge an abortive fee of £108 (inclusive of VAT).

Our fixed fees for instructing the enforcement agent and updating you as to the outcome of the enforcement action, assuming the enforcement is straight forward and concludes within three months from engaging the enforcement agent (whether recovery is successful or not), will be £120 (inclusive of VAT) plus expenses as outlined above.

Where enforcement action takes longer than three months to conclude, or there are unusual circumstances such as the debtor cannot be found, and we need to advise on tracing the debtor, our fees will be charged at our standard hourly rates for the work involved.

Charging order

You can apply to the Court for an order charging the debtor’s land (including property) with the amount of the judgment debt.

We will prepare the paper application for a charging order on your behalf, file it with the Court and attend the interim hearing.  This will incur expenses for a Land Registry search (£4 per property, per search) and court fee (£110 per application).

We will register the interim charging order at the Land Charges Department.  This will incur a registration fee between £20 and £125 depending on the amount of the charge.

The Court will then fix a hearing date to consider making a final charging order, discharge the order or deal with other issues.  We will attend this hearing on your behalf.  Where the Court makes a final charging order, you will have a charge on the debtor’s land, giving you a protected interest in the land and therefore security over the debt.

We will register the final charging order at the Land Charges Department – a registration fee as above will apply.

If the application is transferred to the debtor’s court and this is outside of South Yorkshire, we will need to instruct an advocate agent to attend the hearing instead.  The agent’s fee for attendance at the interim application will be £162 (inclusive of VAT).  The agent’s fee for attendance at the final hearing will be £120 (inclusive of VAT).

Our fees for obtaining a charging order on your behalf, as set out above, will range between £1,500 and £1,800 (inclusive of VAT), plus expenses as outlined above.  Where further work is required because the order is objected to and the Court directs a trial, our fees will be charged at our standard hourly rates for the additional work involved.

It is important to note that the charging order can be enforced by an order for sale of the land.  The debt would then be paid using the sale proceeds.  Fresh proceedings would have to be commenced and additional fees and expenses would apply.

Third party debt order

You can apply for a court order requiring a third party to pay all or some of the judgment debt.  Third parties for these purposes usually include the debtor’s bank or building society, or the debtor’s own debtor.

We will prepare the paper application for a third-party debt order on your behalf, file it with the Court and attend the interim hearing.  A court fee of £110 (for each third party) will be applicable when filing the application with the Court.  If the application is successful, the court will make an interim third-party debt order.

We will then serve the interim third-party debt order of the debtor and the third party.

The Court will fix a hearing date to consider making a final third-party debt order.  We will attend this hearing on your behalf.  Once the final order is made, the third party will be required to pay the judgment debt to you.

If the application is transferred to a court outside of South Yorkshire, we will need to instruct an advocate agent to attend the hearings instead.  The agent’s fee for attendance at the interim application will be £162 (inclusive of VAT).  The agent’s fee for attendance at the final hearing will be £120 (inclusive of VAT).

Our fees for obtaining a third-party debt order on your behalf, as set out above, will range between £1,200 and £1,560 (inclusive of VAT), plus expenses as outlined above.  Where further work is required because the debtor applies for the order to be discharged for example, our fees will be charged at our standard hourly rates for the additional work involved.

Attachment of earnings order

You can apply for an attachment of earnings order compelling the debtor’s employer to pay the debt from the debtor’s earnings.  The debtor must be an individual and not a partnership or corporate body.

We will prepare the paper application for an attachment of earnings order on your behalf and file it with the Court.  A court fee of £100 will be applicable when filing the application with the Court.

The court will then inform the debtor and require him to either make payment or file a statement of means in the prescribed form.  Where the form is returned, the court will make an attachment of earnings order.

Our fees for obtaining an attachment of earnings order on your behalf, as set out above, will range between £480 and £720 (inclusive of VAT), plus expenses as outlined above.  Where further work is required because the debtor objects to the order and the court fixes a hearing before a District Judge for example, our fees will be charged at our standard hourly rates for the additional work involved.

Insolvency

If the judgement debt is above £750 (against a partnership or corporate entity) or £5,000 (against an individual or sole trader), we can commence insolvency proceedings such as winding-up the debtor company or making the individual/sole trader bankrupt.

We will prepare the Winding-up Petition or Bankruptcy Petition on your behalf and file it with the court.  This will incur a court fee of £280 and a petition deposit of £1,600 (winding-up) or £900 (bankruptcy).  The Court will stamp the Petition and return two copies to us.  We will then arrange for the stamped Petition to be served personally on the debtor.  We will need to engage a Service Processor to carry out personal service, which will incur a further expenses between £90 and £108 (inclusive of VAT).

The court will then fix a date for the hearing of the Petition.  We will attend this hearing on your behalf and confirm that the debt is still outstanding.  If the Court agrees, a winding-up or bankruptcy order will be made, and an Official Receiver (or Insolvency Practitioner) will be appointed by the Court to deal with the insolvency.  The judgment debt will be paid to you using monies collected by the Official Receiver/Insolvency Practitioner, where there are enough monies “in the pot” to do so.

If the hearing of the Petition is transferred to a court outside of South Yorkshire, we will need to instruct an advocate agent to attend the hearing instead.  The agent’s fee for attendance at the hearing will be £162 (winding-up) or £120 (bankruptcy) (inclusive of VAT).

Our fees for obtaining a winding-up or bankruptcy order on your behalf, as set out above, will range between £1,200 and £1,800 (inclusive of VAT), plus expenses as outlined above.  Where further work is required because personal service cannot be effected for example, our fees will be charged at our standard hourly rates for the additional work involved.

Contact our Debt Recovery Solicitors in Sheffield

Our lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with the enforcement of judgments on behalf of our clients and have a reputation for sensible, down to earth commercial advice together with an exceptional success rate should court proceedings be required.

Ironmonger Curtis is a specialist commercial law firm based in Sheffield and serving Rotherham, Chesterfield, Barnsley, Dronfield and further afield. If you are interested in our enforcement services or wish to discuss how we can help with any other litigation matter, call us on 0845 225 2635 or fill in our online contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

 

 

For business law advice call 0845 225 2635

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