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This webpage aims to provide you with basic information relating to various ways to enforce judgements, orders and arbitration awards in Hong Kong. It concerns the stage after a party has won a battle in court.

.....After a plaintiff has won a case, the defendant may still be unwilling to pay. The plaintiff therefore needs to take action to enforce the judgement, for example, by way of selling the assets of the debtor to pay for the judgement debt. There are various means to enforce a judgement or an award.

The following are direct enforcement methods:-

1. Oral Examination of Judgement Debtors. Where the judgement creditor has no information as to what assets are possessed by the debtor, this is an appropriate method to bring him before court for him to answer under oath about what his assets are.

2. Writ of Fieri Facias A Writ of Fi Fa is used where the judgment debtor has personal property such as motor vehicles, furniture, office equipment, computers or works of arts. It instructs the bailiff to seize the goods or other movable property and sell them to pay the judgement debt.

3. Garnishee Proceedings A garnishee order is a procedure whereby a judgment creditor may enforce judgement by attaching a debt owed to the debtor by a third party. Once a debt is attached, the third party must pay his debt to the creditor. For example, if the debtor has money in a bank account, a garnishee order will direct the bank to pay the money over to the creditor.

4. Charging Order This method is commonly used where the debtor owns land or property. After obtaining a charging order absolute, the debtor's property will be subject to an equitable charge in favor of the creditor. The next step is to apply for an order for sale and use the sale proceeds to satisfy the debt.

Other Indirect enforcement methods which aim to put pressure on the debtor to settle the debt include :-

1 ) Prohibition Order. It is an order by the Court to prohibit a debtor from leaving Hong Kong.

2 ) Bankruptcy or Winding up The threat of taking bankruptcy or winding up proceedings against the debtor is an effective means of encouraging the debtor to meet its obligations.

3 ) Stop notices and Restraining Order, Injunctions and Others
Stop notices and restraining orders give the creditor prior warning of and also the opportunity to prevent transfers of, or other dealings in securities which might otherwise be used to pay off the judgment debt.

In some situations, injunctions may be obtained to restrain a debtor from transferring assets outside Hong Kong or otherwise dealing with them to defeat payment of the judgement debt.

There are a range of other less used indirect ways of enforcement. We do not intend to list out each and every such means but will be pleased to advise where necessary.

.....The above concerns steps to be taken after someone has won a court battle. If you have not yet obtained a judgement and wish to know more about how to initiate a court action to recover a debt, you are welcome to contact us for details.
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