Consumer wrestler Len Dastard tackles owed debts

23 November 2010

Por favor, cállate my flock. Los ladrones de la justicia have issued a warrent for my arrest, in connection with a viscous murder in Querétaro in 1979. I am certain of my innocence, given that the Mexican wrestler personae is merely a character - that, and the fact I wasn't yet born. Regardless, they continue to peruse me, therefore I must dispense my advice while wearing a false nose.

HUKD member Yasin has asked how you can claim a debt that is truly yours, once you have wrestled your opponent in to submission. Her case related to a dispute with a builder and their shoddy workmanship; a claim was brought for the cost of remedial works and that is the balance that was trying to be recovered.

Let me take you through some of the ways which you would go about doing this:

County Court Bailiff

For debts up to £5,000 the bailiff will attend at the debtor’s property in an attempt to recover goods which can be sold to satisfy the debt. There is a court fee payable (usually £100) regardless of whether or not the money is recovered, if the bailiff is successful, he will attempt to recover sufficient goods to cover this fee.

High Court Enforcement Officer

For debts over £600 it is advisable to instruct the High Court Enforcement Officer instead of the bailiff.

The Enforcement Officers costs are taken direct from the debtor, in priority to the money owed to you. If the enforcement is unsuccessful you will be responsible for their fixed fee. Their fees are usually higher if they are successful. These points should be considered before instructing the Enforcement Officer:

- Do you know the debtors current address? If not, you could ask an enquiry agent to trace the debtor.

- Is the debtor likely to pay once they know you have instructed enforcement agents?

- Do they have enough items that can be seized? The enforcement agents are only able to seize goods belonging to the debtor and not any third party. They also cannot take any items which are tools of their trade, bedding, clothing and household equipment used for basic needs.

Attachment of earnings

This is an order made by the court that the debtor’s employer must pay some of the debtors earnings into court. You will then be paid on a regular basis. The disadvantage to this method is that the debt will be paid off slowly and will depend on the level of earnings.

Charging order

If the debtor owns a property you may consider securing your debt against the property. This is a slow method of recovery as the property will need to be sold before your money can be released. Problems will arise when there is not enough equity in the property to satisfy all debts (including the mortgage).

Third Party Debt Order

If you have (probably unlikely) the debtors bank details, you may seek an order to recover money directly from the bank account. If the debtor operates within his or her overdraft you will not be able to recover money as this overdraft belongs to the bank and not the debtor. There can also be complications where there is a joint account.

Statutory Demand

This is a demand for the money you are owed under the judgment, stating that you will issue bankruptcy proceedings against the debtor if the debt is not paid within 21 days. There is a statutory minimum level which does change from time to time. Following up with bankruptcy proceedings is expensive so you really ought to consider your chances of being successful.

This is just a basic overview and it is up to you to judge your case on its own merits.

Has anyone had any experiences (good or bad) with any of these methods?

4 comments

  • Mr.Baliff
    IGNORE BALIFFS CALLS! Only deal with baliffs via post, and charge for the priviledge for your correspondence. First and foremeost write to them and REVOKE their ASSUMED powers of entry. Their first visit is to see how much stuff youve got to repay. Once they get in they can come back and load up with whatever they like. Do not let them in OR sign anything!
  • Neb
    Good brief guide. I spent 2 years as County Court enforcement Clerk many years ago. I think the key thing is to know or get to know your debtor and assess which is most likely to work, including the embarrassment factor of any type of enforcement. If you know bugger all about them and there is a fair amount of money then might be worth investing in what used to be called an "oral examination" where they get served with a summons to attend court in person and answer questions on oath about their fiances. It also has a bonus that if they repeatedly don't turn up then they will end up imprisoned for contempt of court. Warning: you have to pay upfront for each method of enforcement, currently typically £100, and if it doesn't get you your money back then you could be worse off, good money after bad etc...
  • Legal
    In my experience - avoid using the County Court bailiff unless if can't be avoided - they don't get paid on results whereas the High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) does and so try harder. You forgot to mention that there is also a £50.00 fee when instructing the HCEO for transfering up to the High Court. Don't bother paying a solicitor or try to transfer the judgment up to the High Court yourself - most of the HCEO's will do all the paperwork if you provide them with a copy of the judgment and a cheque for £50.00 payable to HM Court Service. Can recommend the High Court Enfrocement Group on this front. You have also missed out Information Orders. Whilst not technically not a method of enforcement, they can help you to get an understanding of what type of enforcement might work, and have the added bonus that if the debtor fails to respond in can result in them being imprisioned. The downside is thatm they can be expensive as documentation needs to be personally served on the debtor. All the other enforcment methods you have stated work, but the key to any successful enforcement is knowing your debtor. What assets do they own, where do they work, do they own their house etc. the more information you have the better you can understand what enforcment action is likely to work. In Yasin's case debtor is a builder - they tend to go bankrupt more often than other individuals - so also check the Insolvency Service website and London Gazette website and put in the debtors details. Might give you a clue as to whether you are throwing good money after bad by taking enforcement action...
  • -]
    Assumed right of entry? Bailiffs have a right to peaceful entry - if they can get in through an open door or window then they can enter. You don't need to correspond with them in the slightest, just ignore them and keep your door shut. The sneaky cunts will try anything to get in, from barging past you to telling outright lies - don't let them in, as said above they can then come back at will. Tax bailiffs are the exception, they can force entry.

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