Understanding the Law
November 19, 2004
Enforcement of judgments

Writ of fieri facias

Fieri facias (fi fa) means that you “cause (it) to be done”. It is a writ for the seizure and sale of goods. Part 46 of CPR 2000 authorizes the procedure and it is done on form 17. It contains a request to the court and to the marshal to seal the writ. It gives notice to the judgment debtor about the levying of his goods by the court. It tells the judgment debtor that his goods are about to be taken by the court but if he satisfies the debt immediately his goods would not be taken. In short it gives the last opportunity to satisfy the judgment debt. {{more}}

If the debt is paid then fieri feci, that is, “I have caused to be made” or simply “satisfied” is indorsed on the writ. If the debt is not paid the bailiff has the power to seize the goods. The writ explains the procedure of walking possession whereby goods owned by the judgment debtors are marked and claimed for the court. The bailiff might not remove the goods immediately and could leave them temporarily under the charge of the judgment debtor. He/she is warned about the consequences of disposing of those goods that have been marked and taken by the court. The bailiff may not take goods belonging to a third person. Items of personal clothing and tools of the trade are generally excluded. If the goods of a third person are taken the owner could apply to the court by means of an interpleader for the return. If the bailiff has found no goods on which he could levy he writes nulla bona on the writ and returns it to the court office. The judgment creditor is informed accordingly. Goods seized are sold at a public auction at a date and time advertised.

Garnishee order

The judgment creditor may apply to the court (without notice to the judgment debtor) for an attachment of debt or garnishee order. The procedure is in accordance with Part 50 CPR 2000. The order is served on the garnishee, which could be a bank or financial institution that has money for the judgment debtor. It would be advisable to have information on whether or not the funds are jointly held so that the other parties could be served the provisional order and be present at the hearing. The court issues a provisional order (decree nisi) with a date for hearing. This is served on the garnishee at least 21 days before the hearing, and on the judgment debtor and other parties at least seven days after it was served on the garnishee. The provisional order binds the garnishee as soon as it is served and the garnishee has a duty not to disburse the funds otherwise. At the hearing, the provisional order could be made final or discharged or directions could be given for the resolution of any dispute At least EC $50 must be left in the account.

Appointment of receiver

The judgment creditor can apply to the court for an order to allow him to obtain payment from the income or capital asset of the judgment debtor. Application for the appointment of a receiver must be supported by an affidavit. The judgment creditor may also apply for an injunction to prevent the judgment debtor from assigning, charging or dealing with property named in the application. The court may or may not require the receiver to give security. The receiver may be paid for performing his/her duties. He will be required to file an account at a stipulated time.