The Writ of Execution: An Important Tool for Enforcing Judgments

Imagine a scenario: after years in the civil litigation system, your trial finally concludes. A few months later, you discover that you won your case. Congratulations! You won the right to exclusive possession of your investment property; the court has confirmed you are the legal and beneficial owner. What’s more, you won the right to evict the individual currently living on that property who was refusing to leave. Let’s call this individual “John.” Everything has turned out exactly as you hoped it would.

But there’s a catch: John STILL refuses to leave. You point him to the decision. You remind him it came straight from a judge. Because you won your case, you are now a judgment creditor, instead of plaintiff and he is a judgment debtor, instead of defendant. Despite your efforts (or the efforts of your lawyers) to make him comply with the judgment, he refuses. What do you do? This situation is more common than you might think, and there are legal tools available to judgement creditors to aid in enforcement.

One way to achieve enforcement is through the filing of a Writ of Execution. These writs are filed by the judgment creditor against the judgment debtor to get any process of enforcement that it is within the authority of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to grant. Writs often direct the sheriff to take action to enforce a judgment. In your case, you file a Writ of Possession, detailing that you are the sole legal and beneficial owner and that John is trespassing. It directs the sheriff to remove him from the property.

A Writ of Possession in a Lawsuit: Latchmiah v. Durocher, 2023 ONSC 1096

This is what happened in a recent case won by Walker Law. In Latchmiah v. Durocher, Ashna Latchmiah had an oral arrangement with Gary Durocher wherein she would own the house in question and Mr. Durocher would live in it. In exchange for living in it, Mr. Durocher would pay Ms. Latchmiah a fee in the first year, her costs for the home, including the monthly rent payment, insurance, and other expenses. This arrangement was made because Mr. Durocher defaulted on his mortgage payments numerous times and he was evicted from his home by a bank. It allowed him to continue to live in his house when the bank sold the property to Ms. Latchmiah. The arrangement likely included a provision about Mr. Durocher being able to buy it back from Ms. Latchmiah after one year, but he did not provide the funds to do so at that time.

Eventually, Ms. Latchmiah contacted Mr. Durocher through her then lawyer to negotiate terms through which he could re-acquire the property. He did not respond. The Court found that while the arrangement was uncertain due to the need to rely on the recollections of the parties, it was reasonable for Ms. Latchmiah to believe that if Mr. Durocher did not attempt to re-acquire title after one year, and it was therefore her property to do with as she wished. The Court ordered that Mr. Durocher vacate the property within 90 days.

After 90 days passed, he did not vacate the property, and Ms. Latchmiah found herself in the situation described above. Walker Law was successful in obtaining a Writ of Possession from the court, which allowed the Sheriff to take possession of the property and return it to Ms. Latchmiah.

Litigation can be a difficult, long, and stressful process for the parties. It can be especially frustrating when a judgment is granted in one’s favor but the Court’s order is not being complied with. Tools such as the Writ of Possession are an important way that judgment creditors can receive what they are entitled to. Have an issue with your property? Worried about enforcement of your judgment? Contact Walker Law today!

Tags: Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Debt Recovery

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