What can you do if you are owed a very large sum of money by a debtor? Here is some information from an official Government website in relation to the matter of charging orders.

A charging order is an order of the court placing a ‘charge’ on the judgment debtor’s property, such as a house or a piece of land. The charge will be the amount you are owed. The charging order will not normally get you your money immediately, but it may safeguard your money for the future. A charge on a property means that if the property is sold, the charge has usually to be paid first before any of the proceeds of the sale can be given to the judgment debtor. You should note, however, that a charging order does not compel the judgment debtor to sell the property.

If there are already charges on the property when your charge is registered, for example, arising from a mortgage, then that charge will be paid first.

You can apply at any time after you have obtained judgment. However, the judge who considers your application will not make an order unless the judgment debtor:

  • has failed to pay the amount of the judgment when it was due; or
  • Has failed to pay one or more of the installments due under the terms of the judgment.
  • You must complete Form N379 (Application for charging order on land or property). You can also get a copy free from any county court.
  • If you are seeking a charging order against stocks and shares, or money in court, you must complete Form N380 (Application for a charging order on securities).

What information will I need to complete the application form?

You will need:

  • details of the judgment, that is, when it was made, at what court and under what claim number;
  • the full name and address of the judgment debtor;
  • the amount of the judgment, including any costs and interest; the amount owing at the time of your application, again including any interest, and the total amount of any installments, if any, which have not been paid;
  • the address of the property or land on which you want to impose a charge;
  • information as to whether the judgment debtor owns the property solely or jointly with someone else, and evidence to prove it;
  • details of any other creditors you know the judgment debtor has, that is, their names and addresses and the nature of their debt;
  • details of any other person who has an interest in the property;
  • details of any additional reasons, apart from the fact you are owed the money, you want the court to take into account when deciding whether or not to grant your application; and,
  • Details of sources of information, that is, who within the organisation supplied the necessary information. But only if you are a company, corporation or firm.

The application contains a statement of truth. You will have to sign it to confirm that the facts stated in it are true. Remember that proceedings for contempt can be brought against you if you sign the statement without an honest belief in its truth.

You may have to pay a court fee. Please read the County Court Fees information. Staff at any county court will also be able to tell you what the fee is.

You can pay the fee by cash, postal order or cheque. Make your cheque or postal order payable to HMCS. Please note that courts cannot accept payment by debit or credit cards.

Your financial situation may mean that you do not have to pay a fee. The combined booklet and application form EX160A – Court Fees – do I have to pay them?

Court staff can also provide you with a copy of the EX160A. You will have to make a separate application for each fee that you would otherwise have to pay.

If the judgment debtor owns stocks or shares or has a fund or money in court, the court can also put a charge on these in much the same way as on property.

Good luck with your Charging Order