• Simon Taylor

Enforcement of Judgment and Orders

Hit the target with enforcement

So you got to the end of the civil or commercial litigation hearing and you won. That's a great achievement and you should high-five yourself and your litigation lawyers.

What next?

Didn't you just win?

Isn't the stress and cost over?

Unfortunately the Orders or Judgment you just received are just pieces of paper the legal system issued to you and unless you serve the other party, nothing is likely to happen. Furthermore, even if you serve the orders on the other party, they may be ignored.

When the unsuccessful party refuses to accept defeat and make good the judge's decision, you will need to pursue what is called 'Enforcement proceedings'. It sounds like you are starting from the beginning but, rest assured, it's not as bad as that.

Types of enforcement action may include the issue of a bankruptcy notice in the case of a judgment against a person, or service of a Creditor's statutory demand for payment of a judgment debt for a company debt. The preparation of the forms may appear straight forward, however, there can be significant issues if you don't get the time periods right or don't deliver the material properly.

Another under-utilised, but very effective, way to get an unsuccessful litigant to pay the judgment or order, is to apply for an enforcement hearing. The enforcement hearing process requires the other party to give evidence about all their assets so you can get clarity on which is the best asset or angle to pursue. You may think this process can be avoided, however, if you don't participate, a court bailiff may arrest you to bring you to court. A bailiff coming to your home or workplace can be very confronting and quite often will get you satisfaction of your orders or judgment.

Keep the above in mind when starting any court action. When civil or commercial disputes cannot be resolved by agreement, the litigation process is necessary to get you the outcome you need...but remember, budgeting for the enforcement process must be considered and discussed with your litigation adviser at the beginning of the litigation process, so that you are fully aware of what's required to get satisfactory resolution.


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