There are several ways that you can enforce a judgment debt, including:
An enforcement hearing is a useful way to find out about the judgment debtor’s assets and liabilities. This information may assist you when choosing the most effective method of enforcing the judgment debt.
Upon application to the court, you will be allocated an enforcement hearing date. You must then serve a sealed copy of the Enforcement Hearing Summons on the judgment debtor. This document should state that the judgment debtor must attend the enforcement hearing at the specified time and date, and must complete a Statement of Financial Position, which will list their assets and liabilities.
If the judgment debtor fails to attend the enforcement hearing, you may wish to apply to the court for an arrest warrant, which allows the court Bailiff to arrest the judgment debtor and bring them to the court for the enforcement hearing.
The Statement of Financial Position should give you an insight into the assets and liabilities of the judgment debtor, and perhaps most importantly, their capacity to pay the judgment debt. Enforcement options available against the judgment debtor include:
- enforcement warrant for the seizure and sale of property;
- enforcement warrant for the redirection of earnings;
- enforcement warrant for the redirection of debts; and
- order for the payment of the judgment debt by instalments.
Seizure and Sale of Property
Upon application, the court has the power to issue an enforcement warrant authorising a court bailiff to seize and sell the property of the judgment debtor to the value of the judgment debt.
The property seized by the bailiff can be real (a house, for example), or personal (such as a car or a boat). However, there are rules about what cannot be seized, for example the bailiff must not seize a car that is worth less than a certain amount, or tools that are required for the judgment debtor’s livelihood.
Redirection of Earnings
Another enforcement method is to apply to the court for an enforcement warrant for the redirection of the judgment debtor’s earnings. This warrant authorises the payment of part of the judgement debtor’s earnings directly to the creditor from the debtor’s employer. Such a warrant will remain in force until the debt is paid or the warrant is set aside by application or expires.
This is a useful recovery tool where the judgment debtor is in steady employment and is unlikely to leave this position in the near future.
Redirection of Debts
Similar to an enforcement warrant for the redirection of earnings, a warrant for the redirection of debts may be useful where the debtor is owed money from a third person. This warrant authorises the creditor to receive payment of a debt which is owed to the debtor by a third person.
Payment by Instalments
Generally it is the debtor who will make an application to the court for an order authorising payment of the judgment debt by instalments. In circumstances where such an application has been made, it may be beneficial to consent to the order being made, as the debtor may feel they have no other option than to enter into bankruptcy if they cannot pay the debt as a lump sum.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.