Enforcement is the legal term for collecting a debt after an award has been made, usually in a court.
Pursuing a debt recovery strategy can be a lengthy process – especially if one of the parties is based outside UK jurisdiction.
Domestic and international enforcement and debt recovery may follow the dunning process at first – a process whereby correspondence is sent to the debtor and deadlines and a due date for payment is established.
The dunning process can be used in both international and domestic enforcement and is a cost effective solution in cases of low-value debts. The process starts with an initial letter of claim and progresses towards a statutory demand which has to be responded to within 21 days, or court action can be taken to recover the debt.
Duncan Lewis civil litigation solicitors can also advise on mediation services debt enforcement as an alternative to litigation.
However, in cases of domestic enforcement, it may still be necessary to take legal action if the debtor refuses to pay or denies owing the monies.
Obtaining a court order in the civil court can enforce the debt – and if the debtor continues to refuse to pay, the court can take further steps to recover the monies, including using bailiffs to collect the monies, or recover property which can be sold to pay the creditor.
Cross-border debt collection has been simplified under EU law by the Recognition and Enforcement of Claims Act (AVAG) and an EU directive known as the European Payment Order (EuMVVO).
It is also possible to take legal action under EU law against debtors based in the EU using a European enforcement order, which applies to uncontested claims. A European enforcement order enables enforcement of a court order made in one EU member state to be legally enforced in another.
The EU also has a cross-border mechanism for handling small claims across member states.
In some cases, some EU member states do not have enforcement order with other member states – for example, Switzerland. In such cases, the member state’s own laws will apply to debt enforcement.
In cases where a court judgment has been made in a foreign jurisdiction rather than in the courts of England and Wales, the court in England will decide whether this can be given legal force and effect in England.
Legislation – including the Brussels Convention, Administration of Justice Act 1920 and the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933 – can be used in enforcement cases involving either EU member states or countries outside EU jurisdiction.
Duncan Lewis civil litigation solicitors advise clients seeking to enforce a judgment for recovery of debt to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
The Duncan Lewis debt recovery team has extensive experience in domestic and international enforcement – and can take swift action to get the process of recovery underway.
For expert legal advice on debt recovery and International & Domestic Enforcement, call Duncan Lewis Civil Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.