Third Party Charging Orders (Garnishee Orders)
This is an Order requiring a third-party to pay a debt to the judgement creditor from money otherwise owed to the judgement debtor. It is made without notice to the debtor, as clearly otherwise he would move his money on.
The Court can order that a debtor’s money held in a bank or building society account be paid directly to you in payment of your judgement debt. Clearly the Order will be ineffective unless there is actually money in the debtor’s bank at the time the bank receives the order and it is necessary to have the judgement debtor’s bank details to apply for the Order.
The application is made on Form N349 to the Court which made the judgement Order.
The District Judge will make an Interim Third-party Debt Order and fix a date to consider whether it should be made final. The Interim Order will direct that until this hearing the third-party must not make any payment which reduces the amount he or she owes the judgement debtor to less than the amount specified in the order. Thus, you will not get any money until the hearing, but the money will be frozen in the debtors account. Copies of the Interim Third-party Debt Order, together with the application notice and any documents filed in support must be served on the third-party not less than 21 days before the hearing.
If either the judgement debtor or the third-party objects to the making of a final Order, he or she must file and serve written evidence, stating the grounds of his or her objection not less than three days before the hearing.
The Order will not apply to money which comes into the account after the Order is made. Also, a Third-party Debt Order cannot be made over a joint bank account.
The difficulty can be finding out in sufficient detail where the debtor keeps his money. Another problem is getting the Third-party Debt Order issued before the debtor hears of your plans and moves the money away. For a Third-party Debt Order therefore you need good information, perfect timing and to be able to take the debtor by surprise.
Service of a Statutory Demand is the method by which a creditor (whether or not a judgement creditor) threatens a debtor with bankruptcy or winding up. The prescribed form is not a Court document and the Court is not involved in any way at this stage.
The Statutory Demand gives details of the debt and demands that the debtor should pay the debt, or secure or compound it to the creditor’s satisfaction. The debt must be for at least £750. The demand contains a warning that if payment is not made within 21 days of service, bankruptcy or winding up proceedings can follow.
If the debtor is an individual, he or she may apply to the Court for the Statutory Demand to be set aside. There is no such procedure in the case of companies, but a similar result can be obtained by applying to the Court for an injunction to restrain advertisement of a winding up petition. If the creditor knows that the debt is disputed on substantial grounds, then it is likely to be preferable to sue on the debt rather than serve a Statutory Demand, which the Court is likely to set aside.