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Charging Orders - The Lowdown

If you've raised a County Court Judgement against a sole trader or an individual debtor and they have still not paid then the next step could be to ask the court for a Charging Order to be raised against the debtor. A Charging Order, in English law, is an order obtained from a court or judge by a judgement creditor by which the property of the judgement debtor in any stocks or funds or land stands charged with the payment of the amount for which judgement shall have been recovered with interest and costs.

This is a different way of enforcing a County Court Judgement other than using Bailiffs, High Court Enforcement Officers and Bank Arrestment (all of which are other methods you can use if payment is still not forthcoming).

If an individual debtor or Sole Trader owns their own property obtaining a Charging Order is an option to try to secure the monies owed to you by placing an entry with the Land Registry. This will make your unsecured debt secured against their property so that any change in the Title Deeds of the property (for example if it’s sold or remortgaged) after the mortgage or any other secured lending has been settled, you would be legally entitled to any balance to repay the debt owed to you.

 

HOW TO OBTAIN A CHARGING ORDER

There are two stages involved when obtaining a Charging Order:

1. First you’ll need to apply for a Charging Order on a standard court form. The court will usually consider your application without a hearing and (if everything is in order) an Interim Charging Order will be granted. The Interim Charging Order can then be registered against the debtor’s interest in the property with an Agreed Notice (if the debtor is the sole owner of the property) or with a Restriction (if the property is jointly owned).

2. The court then lists the Charging Order application for a final hearing at which point the court will either dismiss the Interim Charging Order (if the debt has since been repaid) or make it Final. Once you have been awarded a Final Charging Order you can then register it on the Title Deeds of the property which transforms your unsecured debt into a secured debt.

You should note that the Charging Order will only be registered on the debtor’s beneficial interest in the property and if it is jointly owned it will not be registered against the other owners’ interest.

 

THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A CHARGING ORDER

• The unsecured debt will become a secured debt against the debtor’s property

• It’s a quick and cost-effective method of enforcing your County Court Judgement

• You have a good chance of getting paid if the debtor has equity in the property

• You can use the Charging Order with other methods of enforcements such as bank arrestment, arrestment of earning and attachment of goods using Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers.