Once a legal judgment has been obtained against the debtor, we have a range of options at our disposal to enforce and facilitate repayment. Our team will advise you on the most suitable enforcement strategy based on our experience of similar cases and our expertise in debt recovery solutions.
We know that each debt is different, and the ‘standard approach’ is sometimes simply not enough. Our experts constantly challenge traditional thinking. We are creative and we innovate above and beyond the standard approach to ensure our clients have the greatest chance of recovering debts.
For low value debts (under £600, or under £25,000 and regulated under the Consumer Credit Act) a warrant of control exercised by a County Court Bailiff can be an effective approach. This involves removing goods from the debtor’s home or business premises to recover the debt. Often the threat of removal is enough to secure repayment.
This approach can be successful, but it is limited as bailiffs are employed by the Court – they are not paid by results, so have less incentive to recover the debt. They will often, for example, restrict their activities to office hours.
A stronger approach for larger debts (over £600, unless regulated by the Consumer Credit Act), is a writ of control exercised by a High Court Enforcement Officer. Like a bailiff, the High Court Enforcement Officer can recover the debt by taking control of the debtor’s property.
High Court Enforcement Officers are employed by private companies, rather than the Court, and are usually incentivised on results. They also have wider powers than a bailiff and can force entry to premises if they reasonably believe that the debtor’s property is there.
Whether you use a bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer, we will manage that relationship, so you only deal with us. We understand how this process works, so we can ensure an appropriate approach is used to safeguard your money and business relationships.
An Information Order requires the debtor to attend Court and answer formal questions about their financial situation. This information can then be used to design the most strategic solution to secure your debt.
An Information Order does not require the debtor to make payment, but they will be given the opportunity to suggest repayment methods. This can be an effective way to deal with the situation, while maintaining a relationship with your client. However, the benefits of this approach need to be weighed against the time taken to acquire this information. In cases where you know or suspect your debtor is in financial difficulty, time is usually of the essence.
A Charging Order secures your debt against any property the debtor owns, including their home or commercial premises. There are two stage to this process: an Interim Charging Order, which stops your debtor from selling their property without your knowledge; and a Final Charging Order, which means the debtor must pay you back from the proceeds of sale of the property. A Final Charging Order is a serious restriction on your debtor’s actions, but it does not guarantee repayment – the property does not have to be sold. To force the sale of the property, you would need to apply to Court for an Order for Sale.
An Attachment of Earnings allows you to deduct payments directly from the salary of your debtor. This option is only available to you if your debtor is employed (not self-employed), and it cannot be used to deduct pension income.
A Third Party Debt Order enforces your judgment by claiming payment from a third party which owes your debtor money. The debtor will not be aware of your application until after you have served the third party with the order, and their bank account, or the funds owed to them, will be frozen by the time they are notified.
As funds are frozen on the day the order is received by the third party, it is important to ensure that the money is in place, as the order will be worthless if no funds are available at that time.
In the case of an undisputed debt, your debtor is technically insolvent if they do not repay the money owed on receipt of a demand letter. Starting insolvency proceedings can allow you to remain ahead of your debtor’s other creditors and can be an appropriate strategy if you are concerned that other parties are involved. A Winding Up petition can be issued against a corporate debtor for debts of more than £750; bankruptcy proceedings against an individual require the debt to be more than £5,000.