Enforcing a judgment using the oral examination procedure
Picture this scenario – a debtor owes your business £10,000.00. All attempts to recover the debt fail and you instruct lawyers to recover via court proceedings. You spend money on the lawyers fees and court fees.
The debtor may or may not try to stretch out the process by filing a defence and thereafter utilising every delay or other tactic possible. Finally, you have a County Court Judgment for your £10,000.00 plus interest plus most of your legal costs and the court fees. You breathe a sigh of relief, you will now get your money.
The Court will do nothing to ensure that your judgement actually results in payment. The ball is in your court. You know very little about the debtor and you and your lawyer didn’t think it was necessary to check the debtor’s financial position before starting the case. Your lawyer may have said to you that there are some options for enforcing a judgment and if you don’t know much about the debtor’s finances, he can be summoned to court to disclose everything under oath.
Ok, so you pay the court fee and start the oral examination process. The debtor is summonsed to court.
He doesn’t attend. You are annoyed, the Judge is annoyed. Another date is set. A month passes. The next time the debtor comes to court with no paperwork and claims he can’t recall much about his finances or at worst, he lies. You are aware by this point that a debtor who plays these sorts of games can be committed to prison for contempt of court. However, what you don’t know is that such orders are very rarely made, and many debtors know how to play this game.
You are no further forward than when you started in terms of a result and you are significantly more out of pocket.
Would it not have been better to have checked out the debtor before you started the case via some investigative due diligence, often also known as pre-sue reports.
If you have reached this conclusion get in touch with us. We can help.