Now you have successfully obtained a County Court Judgment (CCJ) through Litigation, the next process is to Enforce that CCJ. If you ask the court they will direct you to here and ask you to read this document. Although this document gives you all the options, it can make the Enforcement process look pretty daunting. We offer a wide range of enforcement services such as: High Court Enforcement Officer. County Court Bailiff. Attachment of Earnings. Third Party Debt Order or a Charging Order. We will help you understand each process and recommend which type of Enforcement we think would best suit your circumstances.
High Court Enforcement Officer (also known as HCEO)
The HCEO is a very popular method of Enforcement. This method is usually the most common for the enforcement of a County Court Judgment.
The HCEO’s have an incentive to collect a debt as they work on a commission bases. They will attend the address you have for your debtor and enforce debts with a value over £600. They will also chase the debtor for collection of their costs.
If the HCEO has reasonable evidence to believe that there are goods belonging to the debtor in a commercial premises. They then have the power to force entry whereas a County Court Bailiff does not have this sort of power.
County Court Bailiff
A County Court Bailiff can enforce a County Court Judgment under £600 whereas a HCEO cannot. The Court employ County Court Bailiffs, this does not give them as much incentive to collect the debt. They will often make the majority of their visits during office hours. HCEO’s will make their visits at any time of day until they are successful in making contact with the debtor.
Attachment of Earnings
If your debtor is an individual and you know their current Employer, you can apply for an Attachment of Earnings. They will only qualify if they are employed, they cannot be self-employed or unemployed.
The Debtor will receive a deduction in their wages when you have successfully obtained an Attachment of Earnings Order. Their employer will deduct this on a weekly or monthly basis depending on when the Debtor’s paid. Until you receive full settlement of the County Court Judgment, you will continue to receive payments from their employer.
Third Party Debt Order
A Third Party Debt Order is where you obtain payment through a third party that owes your Debtor money. The use of this approach is most common if you know the Debtors Bank Details. Another common approach is if you are aware of a large contract the Debtor may have.
The biggest benefit of this method is the fact you maintain the element of surprise. Your Debtor is not aware on any proceedings until after serving the third party with the Court Order. This Court Order will inform the third party that they must either:
- Freeze the Debtors bank account – If the third party is a Bank;
- Put a hold on funds before your Debtor knows about it – If the third party is a contractor.
The Debtor is then notified of the temporary hold on funds and the Court send an order for a Hearing. Prior to the hearing the third party will have a legal obligation to inform the Court of whether there are sufficient funds to satisfy the County Court Judgment.
If there is not sufficient funds, the Judge will likely abandon the Hearing. This will mean that your Third Party Debt Order Application has been unsuccessful. If funds are available, the Judge will decide at the Hearing whether to order the Third Party to pay you.
If your debtor owns a property, either as a sole or joint owner, you can secure your Judgment against it. If your debtor is a joint owner then the Charge will be on their share of the property. It will not be on the entire property. You can register your interest in the property with a Charging Order by applying to Land Registry.
The aim of registering a charge is to secure the County Court Judgment against the property. Once you register the Charge, the Debtor is unable to sell the property without your consent.
A Charging Order is not necessarily the fastest approach to collecting the Judgment amount. You may not receive settlement of your debt until your debtor either re-mortgages or sells the property.