Cash flow is a problem for every client and particularly those who are running a business. Prompt payment of invoices is of course the ultimate goal for any business, but unfortunately the reality is quite different. Sending reminders is always the first step, requesting payment within 7/14 days is the general practice, but if this fails then it is certainly time for you to contact us.
Quite simply, the procedure to ensure payment of debts legitimately owed is as follows:
1. Pre – litigation letter (also known as a Letter of Demand)
2. Legal Proceedings (Civil Summons/Civil Bill)
3. Notice of Trial
4. Trial Date
This procedure can be quite straightforward but if the debtor contests that he owes you the amount you have claimed then the matter can become slightly more complicated. However, despite what a lot of clients think, the problems do not always automatically disappear once you have received your judgement in the courts. Oftentimes, this does not lead to the amount being paid to you immediately and so this article will deal briefly with the options available to you once you have received your judgement.
1. Registration of Judgement
A judgement once registered is brought to the attention of the public through publication in the Trade Gazettes. This is often an effective method of securing payment as these magazines are widely read by bank managers, credit controllers etc. This is particularly effective if the debtor is trading.
2. The Sheriff
The Sheriff is a Court Officer entitled to seize goods from the debtor that may then be sold to realise funds for the discharge of the debt. This however can take some time and in some cases the Judgement will be returned as the Sheriff considers he/she has no goods that can be seized. The Sheriff will not seize tools of trade or essential household items. However, if your debtor owns a car or other valuable items, it is important that the Sheriff is made aware of this.
3. Instalment Order Process
This can only be used against individuals and not against companies. The Instalment Order Process is highly effective and strongly recommended. Bascially, the debtor can be called to court to be examined as to their means. The Court then decides a weekly/monthly amount of repayments to be made to you. If the debtor defaults or refuses to pay an application can be made to seek to have the Debtor committed to prison for non-payment.
4. Garnishee Order
This is most commonly used when the debtor is a company and the creditor is aware of his trading position. It involves making an application to the court to and requesting that money owed to the debtor from a 3rd party is transferred directly to you.
5. Judgement Mortgage
This is a long-term method of securing payment. If the debtor owns a house then a mortgage can be registered against his/her property. The Judgement Mortgage is valid for 12 years and if during that time the debtor attempts to sell or re-mortgage the house, the Judgement Mortgage will need to be paid off first together with interest. There is an option to apply for an Order for Sale once you have registered a Judgement Mortgage.
We can help you with quick and cost-effective debt recovery! Contact Laura Gillen with your questions.
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