Before you sue someone, it is critical to consider whether you will actually be able to get them to pay you money or give you property if you win your court case. If you don’t, you could be in the unfortunate position of having won your case but not being able to enjoy the spoils of your victory.
Generally, after winning a court case the court will make orders requiring the losing party to pay the winning party a sum of money or give them certain property. However, there is nothing to guarantee that the losing party will actually obey the court’s orders immediately. Similarly, they may not have money or property to be able to satisfy the court’s orders – as they say, you can’t draw blood from a stone.
However, if a person refuses to pay you under a court order, there are a range of measures available to you that can be used to force someone to obey the court’s orders. Broadly, these measures are referred to as “enforcement actions”.
The most commonly used enforcement actions are:
1. Garnishee orders: This forces third parties to pay you, instead of the losing party, money that would ordinarily be paid to the losing party, such as their wages or salary.
2. Writs of execution: These allow the Sheriff of the Court to seize and sell property belonging to the losing party.
3. Bankruptcy proceedings: This causes the liquidation of most of the assets of the losing party. You (and other people owed money by the losing party) will then seek to be paid out of the liquidated assets of the losing party.
A judgment can be enforced for up to 12 years after it is made. If the losing party can’t perform the court’s orders immediately, you should closely monitor their financial situation so that enforcement proceedings can be swiftly commenced when they are in a financial position to satisfy the court’s orders.
At Everingham Solomons, we have a range of solicitors with expertise in litigation and enforcement proceedings. This allows us to give you realistic and practical advice about the best way to maximise your claim against another party because Helping You is Our Business.
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