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Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
Limitations on enforcement - overviewGeneral principles
The rules of limitation that prevent a fresh action being taken on a judgment once six years have elapsed since it became enforceable do not affect the right to take enforcement proceedings.
Transferring the proceedings may be beneficial as there may be restrictions on the ability of the court in which the order was made in relation to certain types of enforcement; for example, a High Court order for less than £5,000 can only be enforced by way of a charging order in the county court.
Limitations on interest
Although there is no limitation on the enforcement of a judgment, interest on a judgment debt is not recoverable if six years have elapsed since it became due.
Limitations in relation to periodical payments
Leave of the court is required to enforce arrears of maintenance more than 12 months old. In most cases this will require a separate application and affidavit setting out details of the arrears claimed. The court may remit the arrears. The starting point is that arrears accrued more than 12 months ago should not be enforced unless there are special circumstances and an order for payment of such arrears should only be made if there is proper evidence that the respondent has sufficient means to pay.
Requirement for leave
The need to obtain leave in relation to enforcement of arrears of periodical payments more than 12 months old is dealt with above. Leave of the court is also required in relation to certain other methods of enforcement, including:
to issue a writ of sequestration or take sequestration proceedings
in the High Court to issue a writ of possession to enforce a judgment or order for the giving of possession of any land
where a change has taken place, whether by death or otherwise, in the parties entitled to execution under the judgment or order
This list is not exhaustive and the procedural requirements for the chosen method of enforcement should be considered carefully before proceedings are commenced.
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