There are a number of ways on how to execute court orders against a debtor’s assets. This article will delve into the methods of enforcement of a money judgment available in the Victorian courts against two categories of assets: real estate and personal property.
A judgment creditor can enforce a money judgment by having real property belonging to the debtor seized and sold. The means of doing so is to apply to the appropriate Victorian court (namely the County Court or Supreme Court) for a Writ of Seizure and Sale which is executed by the sheriff. This option is not available unless all available personal property of the debtor has first been sold, or unless the debtor requests it.
A money judgment can also be enforced against personal property of the debtor. This would include cars, boats, caravans, trailers, artwork, crops, inventory, livestock, plant & machinery, and (logically) money. The means of doing so is again to apply to the appropriate Victorian court for a Writ of Seizure and Sale, however in this case all Victorian state courts are appropriately empowered.
This option is subject to the limitation that certain items which would not be divisible among creditors were the debtor to go bankrupt cannot be seized and sold. Such assets include: property held in trust for another person, common household goods, tools of trade (up to an indexed value), property used primarily as a means of transport (up to an indexed value), compensation for a personal injury and assets bought with any such compensation, life insurance policies, money held in regulated superannuation funds and payments from regulated superannuation funds received on or after the date of judgment.
Money held in a bank account (or other debts owed to the judgment debtor such as rent money) may be attached to (i.e. seized) in order to satisfy a money judgment by means of a “garnishee order”. A garnishee order may be made by any of the Victorian state courts.
Additionally, a money judgment may be enforced by attaching it to a debtor’s wages as an employee. In order to be able to utilize this method of enforcement, a judgment creditor must show that at least $20 of the judgment debt is still owing or that the debtor has “persistently failed to comply with an order with respect to the judgment.” A court may then order that a certain amount of income be paid directly by the employer subject to a ‘protected earnings rate’ having regard to the debtor’s “resources and needs…and of any other person for whom the judgment debtor must or reasonably may provide.”
Finally, a money judgment may be executed by means of charging order which attaches to shares held by the debtor in a private or public company. A charging order entitles the judgment creditor to sell the shares and recover its debt from the proceeds of sale.
There are several means of enforcing a money judgment depending on the particular assets of the debtor. LegalVision is well placed to assist you to enforce your judgment debt in Victoria. For further information or advice and assistance in enforcing your money judgment, contact our specialist disputes lawyers.