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Four key ways to recover your debt

View profile for Catherine Rickett
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You’ve issued proceedings and have secured judgment against your debtor, but how can you actually get your money back? Here, we consider four different methods of enforcement and how being more aware of the situation your debtor is in can help you recover your money.

1  Execution against goods - the bailiffs are coming!

One of the most popular methods of enforcing unpaid debt is to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers. Once judgment has been obtained from the court, and provided the debt is over £600, the matter is transferred up to the High Court and a warrant of control can be sought.  Once the warrant of control is received from the High Court, the Enforcement Officers can attend the debtor’s premises to serve the warrant and give notice of their intention to return after seven clear days. Officers can thereafter attend to take payment and/or goods to the value of the debt if so instructed.

If you believe your debtor has the means to pay but is failing to do so, or has expensive items in his/her possession, this could be the perfect method for you.

2  Third party debt orders - freezing the debtor’s bank account

If you have secured a judgment against the debtor which has not been satisfied, this method allows you to order a third party (who owes money to the debtor) to pay it directly to you.  Also, if you have any information about any forthcoming payments due to the debtor (for example, perhaps the debtor told you about some inheritance coming his/her way, or even about an insurance policy which is maturing), this will be invaluable. If you believe the debtor’s bank/building society account to be in funds, this would be a great way of getting your money back.  All that is necessary to make the application is the name of the third party or financial institution linked to the debtor.

TOP TIP: keep a note of the name of your client’s bank as part of your ongoing credit checks.

3  Charging Orders

Does your debtor own any property? If so, once judgment has been obtained, it is possible to apply to the court to have a charge registered against the debtor’s property. This way, the debtor is unable to sell the property without paying you first! Once the charge is in place, it can be left there until the property is sold, accruing interest at 8% above base rate.  You could also consider making an application to force the debtor to sell the property to repay the debt owed to you.

4  Attachment of Earnings

For an employed debtor, it is possible to make an application to the court for an order to force the debtor’s employer to deduct a sum from the debtor’s wages to pay you directly. The court will assess how much the debtor needs to live, named a ‘Protected Rate’, and then make an order for an amount to be deducted every time the debtor gets paid - provided the debtor earns over £50 per week and over the Protected Rate.  

Remember - knowledge is power when it comes to debt recovery. The more information we have at the outset, the better equipped we are to recover your money.

If you require any assistance with recovering debt, contact our team at debts@roythornes.co.uk or call us on 01775 764156.