Enforcement orders

What are enforcement orders and the different types

The nature of enforcement orders

For the litigation cycle to be complete it is necessary that the courts have powers to ensure compliance by all parties with judgments and orders made against them.  

In practice most litigants will reasonably promptly abide by rulings of the courts against them. However, different methods appropriate for different circumstances have been devised to develop the courts’ powers of enforcement. The types of orders currently available to the courts are:

Execution against goods:

Execution against goods

The procedure

Whenever execution of goods is ordered in the County Court, the procedure is done by way of warrant of execution. When such order is dealt with in the High Court, it is done by way of writ of fiery facias (abbreviated to fi. fa.).

In practical terms this means that the bailiff, armed with the warrant of execution, or the enforcement officer, armed with the writ of fi.fa., will attend the judgment debtor’s premises and seek to gain entry.

They can only enter lawfully without forcing their way in. Once inside, they can seize sufficient goods to satisfy the judgment claim.


The types of goods that can be seized include money, bills of exchange, promissory notes and bonds but exclude protected goods. Protected goods for the purposes of these orders include clothing, bedding, household equipment and other provisions necessary for the basic domestic needs of the debtor and his family.

Further, goods belonging to other members of the debtor’s family may not be seized.

After seizing the goods

Once the goods have been seized, the bailiff or the enforcement officers have two options. They can either take them away or leave them at the premises having entered into a walking possession agreement with a responsible person in the building.

Under that agreement, the responsible person agrees not to remove or damage the goods. Further, he authorises the bailiff or enforcement officer to enter the premises at any time to complete the enforcement process.

If the goods are taken away, the debtor will be provided with an inventory. Those goods will then be sold by an appointed broker or appraiser through a public auction.

Third party debt order

This method is used as the most appropriate means of enforcement when a judgment debtor is owed money from a third party, such as a bank or a trade debtor.

The procedure

Third party orders follow a two-stage process. Firstly, without notice application is made and considered by a judge without a hearing, who may make an interim third party debt order. The order serves the purpose of directing the third party not to make any payment which reduces the amount he owes the judgment debtor to less than the amount specified in the order.

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For more information on:

  • Charging orders
  • Making the order
  • Enforcement by sale
  • Attachment of earnings as an enforcement order
  • The order
  • Protected earnings rate
  • Normal deduction rate