Even where you successfully obtain a judgment or order against a debtor requiring them to pay you money, this can sometimes still not be enough to get your money into your bank account and you may need to enforce the order.

The first step is to find out as much about the debtor’s finances as you can.  Information may be publically available, but if it isn’t, the first port of call is usually to apply to the Court for an examination of the debtor.  An examination requires the debtor, on oath, to provide the Court with details of all income, outgoings, assets, and liabilities that the debtor has.

Once you are satisfied that you have enough information about the debtor, you can look at the best enforcement option.

·         If the debtor has money in the bank or is owed money by another person, you can seek an order that the bank or other party pays the money to you.  This is called a garnishee order.

·         Attachment orders are useful where a debtor is asset poor but has income.  Income is not limited to wages, it can include any rent or regular source of incoming money.  An attachment order attaches to a source of income and makes automatic deductions from it and pays those to you.

·         Sale orders are useful where a debtor is cash poor but asset rich.  You can obtain orders to sell any personal property or real estate owned by the debtor.

·         Bankruptcy is also another option to consider if the judgment is over $1,000.  The debtor’s assets can be seized and sold and used to repay creditors.  Income over basic living costs will also go to creditors.  Secured creditors will take priority over unsecured creditors (a judgment is not a secured debt but a mortgage is).

As with anything debt-related, the key is to act quickly.  Once you’ve obtained a judgment, the debtor should be contacted to require payment immediately.  If payment is not received, you need to take action as soon as possible to enforce the judgment and get your money.