I'm owed money, how do I get it back?
If you are owed money by somebody you should visit a solicitor for legal advice to see if there are any ways of getting the money back. A solicitor will be able to advise on a number of options depending on your situation and the circumstances of the individual or company that owes the money.
The most common method a solicitor will suggest to get money owed to you will be to obtain a court judgment against the individual or company that owes the money (the debtor).
In order to do this you will have to issue a claim in a county court detailing the money owed.
Nowadays, people can issue claims over the internet on ‘money claim online’.
Money claim online
Money claim online has been introduced due to the number of people that were owed money and intending to use the county court system to try to recoup it.
The courts became so busy dealing exclusively with money claims that it was felt a new way of tackling the issue needed to be introduced.
Money claim online is still the same principle as issuing in a county court; in fact, all claims on money claims online are issued out of Northampton county court.
The idea behind this is that there were so many claims for money owed that were not defended that there needed to be a more efficient system.
Money claim online, therefore, allows the creditor to obtain a judgment against the debtor for the amount owed if they fail to file a defence.
If a defence is filed then there will still need to be a hearing, in which case the claim will be likely transferred from Northampton county court to the local court of the debtor.
The reason a solicitor will advise trying to obtain a judgment for the amount owed is the fact that, once you have the judgement, you have clear proof that the money is owed and you can take enforcement proceedings.
It should be noted that enforcement proceedings are very different from obtaining the judgment and this is where many creditors make errors.
A good solicitor will advise you immediately that there is no point trying to go to the legal cost of enforcing a judgment if the debtor does not have the means to pay; you will simply be throwing good money after bad.
Methods of enforcing the judgment (actually getting the money owed) include an attachment of earnings order, a charging order and petitioning for bankruptcy.
An attachment of earnings order requires a percentage of the debt (as much as a judge deems affordable) to automatically come out of the debtor’s wage packet every month to pay back the creditor. Naturally, to enforce via this method the debtor must be in employment.
A charging order places a charge over the debtor’s property as security for the debt owed.
In order to petition for bankruptcy you will have to issue a statutory demand and therefore the debtor must owe at least £750.
Again a solicitor should advise what is the best method of enforcement for your circumstances depending on the income and assets of the debtor.