Do you need help in recovering a debt?
There are multiple venues available for recovery of a debt.
Depending on the amount of money owed and the situation that the debt arose in, a certain venue would be more appropriate.
Regardless of the venue however, the basis of debt recovery can be separated into three stages:-
Step 1 - Demand for Payment
A demand must be made to the debtor advising that the debt is outstanding and needs to be paid.
It is important that the debtor is given a reasonable period of time to pay the amount.
If after a reasonable amount of time, no response is heard from the debtor, then the debtee may proceed to the second step.
Step 2 - Obtaining an order for payment
If it can be shown that a demand was made for a valid payment of debt and that no response was forthcoming, then an application can be made for an order to compel the debtor to repay it's debt.
Regardless of whether this order is obtained at the District Tribunal, the District Court, the High Court or any other tribunal, once an order is made then the order for repayment becomes a legally enforceable order.
This leads to step 3 - enforcement of recovery.
Step 3 - Enforcing an order for payment
Again, there are multiple options available for recovery, for enforcement of an order to repay costs and a debt.
Most commonly, an order for examiniation of the debtor's ability to repay debts can be made before a registrar at the court.
The registrar will examine the ability of a debtor to repay his/her debts and make an order for a repayment schedule.
If the debtor has income or assets, then an order for garnishment of the debtor's salary or wages, or an order for confiscation and sale of the debtor's assets can be made.
In the event that the debtor is not responsive to any of these orders, then an order for liquidation or bankruptcy can be made. Once this has happened, a liquidator or an official assignee will be appointed by the Insolvency Office. This official assignee or liquidator will then examine the debtor's assets and liabilities and make arrangements for repayment of the debtor's debts.
A court-ordered repayment is given more priority than an unsecured creditor would have in the event of a bankruptcy or liquidation.
It is possible to recover the costs (legal and interest) of recovery as part of a court-ordered judgment for repayment.
Before commencing on an action in the civil courts to recover a debt, creditors must be aware of the following two factors:-
- TIME - progressing any matter through the courts will take a long period of time. A relatively straight forwward proceeding with the District Court can still take a minimum of three months. If the matter is with the High Court then waits of half a year to 18 months is not unheard of.
- MONEY - does the debtor have any money to repay?
Even if an order has been made for repayment, and the debtor has made a bankruptcy, if there are insufficient funds to repay the outstanding amounts in a timely fashion, then seeking recovery of the debt may not be the best business decision for you to make.
As always, it is important to talk to your lawyer first so that you are aware of the potential costs and potential gain to pursuing a particular action.