At the end of the litigation process, the successful party is usually awarded judgment by the court for an amount of money owed to them. However, successful litigants often do not realize that the court will not assist with collecting the funds owed under the judgment.
If the debtor refuses to pay the judgment funds, the first step is to send them a letter asking them to do so. If they are unresponsive or continue to withhold payment, you may have to resort to other debt recovery or collection methods to enforce the judgment. If you have sufficient information regarding the debtor such as their assets and ability to pay the judgment, you can begin to enforce the judgment immediately.
Walker Law’s debt recovery lawyers are experienced in employing the following enforcement methods to recover judgment debts:
Examination in Aid of Execution
This process is known as a Judgment Debtor Examination, and is a powerful tool to determine (i) what assets a debtor may have to satisfy a judgment, and (ii) whether the debtor has improperly disposed of or transferred assets before or after the judgment. In an Examination in Aid of Execution, the debtor is questioned under oath by the creditor or the creditor’s lawyer, and their answers are recorded by a court reporter. The debtor may be asked questions such as: their income and assets, if there are any debts owed to the debtor, if there are any debts owed by the debtor, any sale or disposal of assets before and after the judgment, whether or not the debtor intends to pay the judgment, etc. The debtor can be asked to produce any documents such as financial statements that correspond to the questions asked.
Writ of Seizure and Sale
This mechanism allows for the judgment to be filed with the Sheriff in the jurisdiction where the debtor’s assets are and registered on the title of property owned by the debtor. If the amount of the judgment is too small to force the sale of the debtor’s land, the creditor can register the judgment as a lien on the debtor’s property. Once it is registered on the title, when the debtor sells the property, the lien must be paid from the proceeds before the sale can be completed.
If your judgment is for the payment of a sum of money, it can be enforced by garnishing any debts payable to the debtor by other persons. To garnish a debtor, a creditor will first need to send a notice of garnishment to the individual or corporation who is holding the debtor’s assets. A notice of garnishment can be sent to a bank, employer, trustee (if the debtor is a beneficiary under a will or trust), and others who owe the debtor a debt. However, certain payments such as employment insurance, social assistance, and payments to dependants cannot be garnished.
Walker Law is located in the heart of the financial district in downtown Toronto. Our debt collection lawyers are ready to assist you. Call us at 647-342-2334 or email us at [email protected] for a consultation. Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only. It contains general information about legal matters and should not be considered legal advice.
Tanya Walker has experience in both bringing and responding to appeals brought in the Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, and Court of Appeal.