I have always been a great admirer of Claire Sandbrook, and the way she has developed and built up Shergroup, her enforcement business (not a traditionally female friendly area of practice). As you would expect her book, now in its 10th edition, is authoratative and thorough.
Published by Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell, this is a practitioner text, aimed mainly at staff in the litigation departments of solicitors firms or credit control departments in large firms. Non lawyers and those unfamiliar with the litigation process may find it a bit hard going, but it is clearly written so you should be able to find your way around it, if you persevere.
Mind you, as it is a practitioners book, it is a bit pricey at over £70 from Amazon(the official price is over £90) but that may be cheaper than getting a solicitor to do the work for you.
Many people do not realise that getting a County Court Judgment (CCJ) is often only half the battle. You then have to persuade or force your debtor (known in the enforcement process as the judgement debtor) to actually pay you If you are unlucky enough to have a debtor with no money (the so called ‘men of straw’) you may never get paid.
It is also not often realised that the court do not really do anything to help with enforcement. For example on the Binary Law blog, the writer expressed surprise that after a judgement was given by the Judge in a case, there was no procedure to get the money from the debtor there and then, for example by an ATM machine in the courtroom.
No such luck! If the defendant does not pay voluntary (although many will do so to avoid getting a bad credit rating) the judgment creditor has to initiate, and pay for, special enforcement services. Claire’s company Shergroup is one of the firms which provide these service.
Quite rightly, the book starts (after a couple of introductory chapters) with a chapter on preliminary steps, which suggests you consider whether your judgement debtor has any assets which can be used to satisfy the unpaid judgment, and if so what. There is no point in wasting money on enforcement procedures if the debtor has no money to pay. There is a very helpful table which sets out the different types of debtor (individual, partner in a firm, company etc) setting out what enforcement procedures are suitable.
The book then goes on to consider the main procedures and services available to a judgement creditor seeking to obtain payment, with chapters on
- Orders to obtain information – summoning the debtor to face cross examination on his assets)
- Third party debt proceedings (previously known as garnishee proceedings) – where someone, normally a bank, is ordered to pay money held for the judgment debtor, over to the judgement creditor
- Charging orders – effectively converting the judgment into a charge against (normally) land
- Execution against goods – sending in the County Court bailiffs or High Court Sheriffs to take away the debtors possessions if he fails to pay, and
- Attachment of earnings – getting the employer to pay part of the judgment debtors salary to you until the debt is paid
To mention a few.
If you regularly do enforcement work, this book should already be on your shelves. If you are a lawyer unfamiliar with this area but have some enforcement work to do, this is an excellent book to have by your side as it will answer all, or most, of the questions you will have. And if you are a litigant in person, struggling to get payment, it is the best source of information, provided you can follow the legalistic approach.
Generally it is the next best thing to speaking to Claire herself about your enforcement prospects.
Note that Landlord Law members will find special forms to help them use Shergroup’s enforcement services, via the Enforcement section of Landlord Law. You can buy Enforcement of a Judgment from Amazon (affiliate link).