Civil Law

03. Debt Recovery

Introduction

If you have won in court, and the defendant has still not paid their CCJ, you now have a number of options open to you in order to pursue the debt. However, keep in mind, although the defendant will have any further fees added onto their debt, you are responsible for paying any further fees upfront, which you may never get back if the defendant cannot pay. 

County Court Bailiffs

Once you have had a judgement against the defendant, you can apply to the county courts to "enforce the judgement" by requesting a Warrant Of Control. This will cost you £110. This means that bailiffs from the county court will attend the debtors home (or work if it is a company) and try to resolve the matter. If it is a debt against a business, bailiffs have the right to enter the property (even if its locked) and seize goods. Although county court bailiffs do not have as much power as high court bailiffs, they are still a goods way of making the debtor realise the debt isnt going away. 

Order the defendant to attend court for questioning 

If you are certain that the debtor has money, and can afford to pay their CCJ, you can apply to the courts for An Order For A Debtor To Attend Court. This will cost from around £85. This is where the court will order the defendant to attend court so they can be questioned as to their financial situation. You can also request the judge ask them questions too, such as "who do you bank with". The defendant will have to provide proof of their income, such as bank statements, wage slips and any other form of income they earn. If they do not attend, they can be arrested. 

Third party debt order

Providing you know who the defendant banks with, one of the most affective methods of debt collection is a Third Party Debt Order. This is where the courts order the debtors bank to freeze their account, and seize any money inside up to the value of the debt. The defendant will not be able to withdraw any money from their account until a court authorises this. This will cost £110, but will be added onto the debt, and seized from the debtors bank account. Once the court has issued this, and the money is seized, the chances of you finally getting your money back is incredibly high. If you do not know who the debtor banks with, you can keep applying to different banks with until you strike it lucky, however a judge may not grant the order if you are guessing, and you can only claim for 1 order. 

High court enforcement 

If you are still struggling to recover your money, you can contact High Court Enforcement. You can apply through a high court enforcement team to transfer the debt up to the high court. This will allow you to obtain a high court writ. This will firstly cost you £66, to obtain a writ. Once a writ has been sealed, high court enforcement can then attend the debtors property to make contact. If the debtor owns a car which is not on finance, the enforcement agents can seize that to cover the debt. They can also make peaceful entry into the property to seize goods to the value of the debt. High court enforcement is most affective if the debtor owns valuable items (and they can gain access to their property). If it is a company you are chasing, enforcement agents can gain access through locked doors. If agents are unsuccessful, you will be asked to pay a £75 withdraw fee. 

Charging order

A charging order is an order obtained by a judgement creditor from a court in which the debtors house, land, stocks or funds are charged. Therefore, when the debtor comes to sell their home, land, stock or funds, you will recover your funds before they get any equity out of their assets. This only really works if you know that the judgement debtor has assets like that to charge against. A Charging Order can cost from £100.

Bankruptcy 

Applying to the courts to bankrupt a debtor is the last resort, the most serious resort, and one of the most expensive. Bankruptcy petitions can set you back over £1000, and you can only apply to bankrupt someone if they owe you £5000 or more. But this will mean that the defendant will likely lose all assets, or be forced to pay their debt in full. Any goods of value can be sold to clear (or lower) the debt, their bank accounts and credit cards are frozen, they will not be able to obtain finance for 5 years, all their income will go through an official receiver, and their names will be published online and sometimes in their local paper. They may even lose their home. Bankruptcy petitions are long, drawn-out, and hard work. You must serve a Statutory Demand notice on the debtor, and if they do not respond, you can then apply to the courts to start proceedings for a Bankruptcy Notice. 

Judge Writing

Whats best?

From our experience, we highly recommend using Third Party Debt orders. They are the most affective method of debt recovery. As once the funds are seized, they are yours. This is all providing you know who the defendant banks with.

Other than that, we recommend using high court enforcement, high court enforcement have more powers than county court bailiffs, and can remove goods to clear the debt.