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Recovery Update: Procedural changes for Charging Orders and Attachment of Earnings

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Procedural changes for obtaining Charging Orders and Attachment of Earnings Orders in the County Court will come into effect on the 6th April 2016.


Charging Orders and Attachments of Earnings Orders are methods of enforcing a Judgment Debt and an important part of your debt recovery toolkit:

  • A Charging Order secures the sum owed to you against a debtor’s property in the same way that a mortgage is secured. In most cases, this will prevent a debtor from selling their property without firstly repaying the sum owed to you.
  • An Attachment of Earnings Order allows deductions to be made from a debtor’s wages with the employer being responsible for making the deductions. If a debtor’s employer fails to make the necessary deductions, they can be summoned to Court and fined.

The changes

Since the 22 April 2014 there has been a single County Court in England and Wales.

The procedural update, which will come into effect on the 6th April 2016, brings the process of obtaining a Charging Order and an Attachment of Earnings Order in line with the single County Court system. Moving forward, applications will be dealt with at the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC) and will only be transferred to a local hearing centre if it is necessary to do so.

For Charging Order applications, the update removes the necessity for a hearing to take place in every application making the process quicker and more costs effective. Moving forward, a hearing will only be necessary if a debtor lodges an objection so the majority of applications will be dealt with on paper alone at the CCMCC.

Attachment of Earnings Order applications will be lodged to the CCMCC - removing any initial delay in having the matter transferred to a debtor’s local hearing centre prior to making the application. The application will then only be transferred to a local hearing centre if it is necessary for a Bailiff to serve notices to the debtor or a hearing proves necessary. As in most cases we also ask the Court to contact a debtor’s employer directly, we believe that most matters will get dealt with quickly and remain within the CCMCC.

How this will affect you

In addition to saving costs and reducing delays, dealing with applications for Charging Orders and Attachment of Earnings Orders centrally will enable the County Court to implement a consistent approach - reducing the variations in how such applications will be dealt with.

This is good news for creditors and moving forward we should see what used to be a cumbersome process involving largely unnecessary hearings and costs move to a swift and more effective debt recovery tool.

Please do not hesitate to contact our debts team on 01775 764156 if you have any queries in relation to enforcement or wish to discuss how our debt recovery services could help your business.