Attachment of Earnings Orders – how to enforce a money judgment via your debtor’s employer
Unfortunately obtaining a County Court Judgment (CCJ) is often only half the battle and further work may be required to convert your CCJ into cold hard cash. If a debtor is not forthcoming in making payment after judgment then you will have to consider how best to enforce. One option is to make an application for an attachment of earnings order, which will compel your debtor’s employer to deduct instalments towards the debt directly from their salary.
This method of enforcement was introduced by the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 and can be an effective tool to procure payments from unwilling debtors. This is because it is relatively straightforward to prepare the application and the costs for doing so are not extensive. In addition to this, the creditor is able to recover some of their incurred costs in the preparation of such an application if it is successful. There are several conditions that must be met before the court will consider granting an attachment of earnings order. For example, the debt must be over £50 and the debtor must be an individual (rather than limited company) who is not self-employed or a member of the armed forces.
Attachment of earnings orders can be advantageous as they often lead to a sense of embarrassment for the debtor who will be reluctant for their employers to become aware of any financial troubles. For this reason, the mere threat of an order can often lead to debtors making payment in full, or at the very least offering to pay in larger instalments than they may otherwise have been prepared to make. On the other hand, if the order is made it can often take a long time to recover the debt in full as the court may only order a small amount to be deducted from the debtor’s salary each month. Another downside is that interest does not accrue on the decreasing amount outstanding as it does with other methods of instalments.
If you have decided that an attachment of earnings order is right for you then we can prepare the application for you for you. A court fee of £100 is payable however this is recoverable in the event of success. Should you require any further information then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Remember, an attachment of earnings order may result in the debt being paid back over a long period of time, however the threat of one can be used as a tactical tool that may prompt immediate payment.