Understanding the Law
November 12, 2004
Enforcement of Court orders

The unsuccessful party (the judgment debtor) has a duty to comply with the terms of the judgment. The successful party (the judgment creditor) has a right to enforce his/ her judgment if the judgment debtor does not comply accordingly. An appeal does not act as a stay on execution of the judgment but it may be convenient for the judgment creditor to wait until the appeal is completed. {{more}}

It will be to the judgment creditor’s advantage if he has knowledge of the resources of the judgment debtor. This will allow him to seek the appropriate method of executing the judgment. He may find out by oral examination or through a financial statement sworn to by the judgment debtor (as explained last week). One need not utilize these preliminary methods but may execute judgment directly.

Orders of the court involving money payment may be enforced by a charging order, a garnishee order, a judgment order, order for seizure and sale of goods or appointment of receiver. A charging order is the enforcement of judgment debt on securities, shares (stock) and dividend derived. A garnishee order is an order by which a judgment creditor may obtain the judgment debt from a third party, for example, a bank that has money for the judgment debtor. A judgment summon is an application to commit the judgment debtor provided it is not prohibited by an enactment. By an order for seizure and sale of goods belonging to the judgment debtor, funds are obtained to pay the judgment creditor. Appointment of a receiver is done for the collection of funds from the assets of the judgment debtor commonly regarded as bankruptcy notice.

Writs of Execution

The most popular form of enforcement in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is seizure and sale and this is carried out by means of a writ of execution. A writ of execution is also used for sequestration of assets, delivery of goods, the sale or possession of land.

In some instances permission of the court must be sought before the writ could be issued. For example, if six years have elapsed since the judgment was granted, the goods are in the hands of a receiver, the judgment is subjected to a condition, a statutory provision requires it, the judgment debtor has died and the goods are in the hands of his personal representative, the judgment debtor is no longer liable. A writ cannot be issued against the Crown.

Features of a writ of execution

A writ of execution is valid for 12 months. Application for the renewal of the writ must be submitted while the writ is valid. It must be supported by evidence on affidavit. The court may renew the writ for not more than six months. The effective date of the writ does not change with renewal. If the court orders a judgment to be paid in installment and the judgment debtor defaults on one payment the judgment creditor can issue an order to recover the entire amount remaining. The judgment creditor may ask the sheriff to suspend execution of a writ that was issued. If he later wishes to reinstate it, an application must be made to the court for renewal. The judgment creditor may request a return from the sheriff about the manner in which the execution was done.