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How to Enforce a Judgment in Debt Recovery – Garnishee Orders

By Chloe Howard,  a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Whilst there are many options for enforcing a judgment debt, in the right matter a Garnishee Order can be an extremely effective debt recovery tool. They are inexpensive to issue and all you need is the debtor’s name to get the process started. So, what is a Garnishee Order and how can a Garnishee Order help in recovering a debt owed to you?

What is a Garnishee Order?

A Garnishee Order is an order of the Court which allows a judgment creditor to recover or ‘garnish’ a debt from a judgment debtor by essentially ‘seizing’ monies from the judgment debtor without their permission by going directly to a third party for payment.

How can a Garnishee Order help recover the debt owed to me?

A Garnishee Order can be enforced in any of the following ways:


If the judgment debtor is employed and earns an income, a Garnishee Order can be issued to the debtor’s employer. In this situation, the employer will deduct funds from the debtor’s pay cheque and pay that amount directly to you by way of instalments.
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By Darrin Mitchell, Senior Associate at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Obtaining a judgment is a goal in the debt recovery process. Debt collection is not easy and the Court Rules make provision for collecting money but it’s not a one way street.

Judgments in New South Wales can generally be entered by a Court in three ways:

– by default;
– by consent; or
– by Order.

A default judgment is entered following the service of a Statement of Claim and non-compliance by the defendant. If after 28 days elapses and no payment is received and no Defence is filed, the creditor can then file at the Court an affidavit confirming the Claim was served and an application for judgment. Upon processing the application, if the Court accepts the Claim was served and that the debt remains unpaid, it will then enter judgment for the creditor as at a nominated date and amount.
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