Q: Having obtained a judgment against a firm I did contract work for, they still have not paid me. The firm, also in the building trade, cite cash flow problems, but I know they are getting regular stage payments on a big construction contract that's ongoing. What can I do?
A: A third party debt order (previously known as a garnishee order) can be made where there is a debt due or accruing due to the judgment debtor from a third party. The Court is however likely to reject speculative claims so there must be witness evidence to show that a sub-contract exists, its extent and the value of stage payments or any retention pending completion of works. It would also be of benefit to supply details of the judgment debtor's bank account as such a procedure can also be used where money stands to the credit of a judgment debtor's bank account.
The procedure for obtaining a third party debt order is in two stages. An application without notice should be made to the Court for an interim third party debt order. If the judgment debtor or third party has prior knowledge of the application it may be less successful. Once the Court is satisfied that there is a debt due and accruing to the judgment debtor from the third party it then directs the third party not to make any payment which reduces the amount owed to the judgement debtor to less than the amount specified in the order i.e. your judgment debt. Indication is therefore needed as to the likely value of payments due to the judgment debtor from the third party.
A hearing is then listed for the Court to consider whether to make the interim order final, ordering the third party to pay monies directly to you rather than the judgment debtor in satisfaction of both debts.