If you win a case and a Judgment has been rendered, you now have the right to require the other side (known as the Judgment Debtor) to adhere to the orders of the judgment (e.g. pay you the money they owe you). This is called the Judgment Debt. If the Judgment Debtor does not cooperate, there are a number of enforcement actions which you can commence in order to enforce the judgment. Our NSW Dispute Lawyers have provided a short summary of the different types of enforcement actions below.

Writ for Delivery of Goods

A Writ for Delivery of Goods, is generally brought when the judgment is for the return of particular goods. For example, a car or a piece of equipment. In some cases, however this is not possible, as the particular good has been destroyed or otherwise made unavailable. In this case, a Writ for Delivery of Goods can be brought to instead seize other goods belonging to the Judgment Debtor so that they can be sold to repay to you the value of the particular good.

Writ for the Levy of Property

A Writ for the Levy of Property is similar to a Writ for Delivery of Goods in that it involves the seizing of property (note this does not include land) from the Judgment Debtor so that they can be sold to pay the Judgment Debt. In circumstances where the value of the seized property does not realise the full amount of the Judgment Debt, then another Writ for the Levy of Property can be sought.

Garnishee Order

A Garnishee Order is an enforcement action which takes money out of a Judgment Debtor’s bank account to satisfy a Judgment Debt. A Garnishee Order can also be made over a Judgment Debtor’s salary. This works by taking a part of the Judgment Debtor’s for example fortnightly salary to pay off the Judgment Debt via instalments. Finally the Garnishee Order can also require a third party to pay the Judgment Debt. For example if the Judgment Debtor is owed money by a third party, then that third party may be required to pay that debt to you rather than the Judgment Debtor in satisfaction of the Judgment Debt.

Bankruptcy Proceedings

This is one of the most complicated enforcement actions and involves going to court to commence bankruptcy proceedings. Accordingly to our NSW Dispute Lawyers, this basically involves making a Judgment Debtor bankrupt and then seeking payment of a Judgment Debt by submitting the Judgment Debt as a creditor of the Judgment Debtor’s bankruptcy estate. This method however does not guarantee that you will receive the full amount of your Judgment Debt as you will be considered an unsecured creditor and therefore you will generally be paid last.

Conclusion

Irrespective of what enforcement action you want to commence, it will generally require some legal assistance. Our NSW Dispute Lawyers, are experienced in helping people enforce a Judgment Debt, and we would be happy to assist you as well.

Emma Jervis
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