Enforcing Court Order Basics
Enforcing an order means making sure that what the court ordered is done. Usually, you want to collect money that is owed to you. Unfortunately, just because a Court ordered that someone pay you money does not always mean you will see a cheque right away. Some people simply do not have the money to pay. Some others will not obey a Court order.
Limitation Periods and Judgments
For some money judgments, a limitation period of ten years starts to run from the date of judgment. That means that if you do not receive a payment within 10 years, the judgment becomes no longer enforceable.
File Your Order
First, take your order to the court registry for filing. You will drop your order off for filing. It will take some time for the Registry to review the order and return a filed copy. You can find out roughly how long it will take by asking a registry officer. For information on drafting orders, see Orders.
Ask the Debtor for Payment
The first step in enforcing an order is to deliver the stamped order on the person(s) affected by the order and ask for payment. Set a deadline for payment, and give the person reasonable time to comply.
The judgment debtor may pay you the money that the court ordered. In that case, the judgment debtor can ask for proof of payment. You must complete Form 55, file it with the registry, and serve a filed copy on the judgment debtor.
If the debtor doesn’t pay you immediately, you will have to take steps to enforce your court order. You have 10 years before the order expires, but it is a good idea to try to collect the debt as soon as possible.
If the Debtor Does Not Pay
You have a few options if the debtor does not pay. The most common options are:
- Find out the debtor’s financial situation by:
- Conducting an examination in aid of execution hearing or
- Arranging a subpoena to a debtor hearing
- Garnish the debtor’s wages or bank account
- Seize and sell the debtor’s assets or
- Register the judgment against the debtor’s land
Find Out the Debtor’s Financial Situation
If the judgment debtor does not pay the money owing to you, there are two procedures under the Rules of Court that require the judgment debtor to answer questions, under oath, about their financial situation and ability to pay the debt.
In addition to giving you an opportunity to question the debtor about their financial situation, it also provides an opportunity to discuss payment of the debt, thereby avoiding further costs and delays.
There are two ways that you can force the judgment debtor to answer questions under oath:
- You can conduct an examination in aid of execution, which helps you find out about the debtor’s assets and income or
- You can issue a subpoena to the debtor to have a judge or a registrar examine the debtor and make an order about how the debt will be paid
After you learn about the debtor’s financial situation, you can take steps to collect the money owing to you by a garnishment or other means.
Remember that a judgment debtor who has no assets and no income might not be able to pay the money that is owed to you.