So you’ve got your court order that says you’re entitled to the money your debtor owes you. Now what? It’s one thing to be entitled to it, but that’s not much good if they claim not to have the funds available to pay you. Or do they really?
Getting the Information You Need
Fortunately, you don’t have to take your debtor’s word that they can’t afford to pay you. If you have a judgement about the debt, you’re entitled to make an application through the court to force the debtor to reveal what assets they have.
This can help you decide the best way to proceed. If the application reveals that the assets are there, then you can pursue your claim with confidence that you’ll get your money. This may, for instance, include using the process of High Court enforcement.
If it turns out, however, that they really can’t pay, you may be wasting time, effort and money trying to squeeze what isn’t there. In this case, you may prefer an alternative approach, such as agreeing a partial payment in return for writing off the rest. This would at least gain you some of your money right away.
If Your Debtor Is an Individual
If you’re trying to get money from an individual (a defaulting tenant, for instance), you should complete the form N316. You’ll need to pay a court fee of £55, but this can be claimed back from the debtor, if you’re successful in recovering the debt.
The court will then order the debtor to complete a form giving full details of their financial situation. This will include information about:
- Bank accounts and balances
- Dependents and all outgoings
- Employment status and salary
- Any assets, including property
- Share certificates
- Any other income
If Your Debtor Is a Company
For many types of debt, however, it’s quite likely that it will be a company that owes you the money. In this case, you’ll need to complete form N316A. This will compel the company to reveal:
- Any bills currently owed to it
- Accounts for the past two years
- The company’s current management accounts
Whichever variation you use, the information will be invaluable to help you decide on your next step. If you need to discuss any stage of this process — applying to the court, analysing the results or deciding on how to go forward — you’re very welcome to give me a call for a chat.