Are you looking for help with enforcing a judgment in British Columbia? You have put in the effort to win a lawsuit or some kind of court action. Now you want to collect.
Most people assume that people will simply follow a court order. This is not the case. People would sometimes rather go down with the ship than pay money to someone they hate.
Before you start a petition or a notice of civil claim in BC, it’s best to talk to a lawyer. The lawyer is going to make sure that after all the time, stress, and money that goes into a lawsuit, there is gold at the end of the rainbow.
This article focuses on British Columbia, for both the Supreme Court and Provincial Court. We have attorneys that can help you enforce a judgment anywhere in BC. It doesn’t matter which city you are located in, or where our lawyers are.
If you lost in court, you can also hire a lawyer in BC to provide you with legal advice. You might be able to appeal or get favourable payment terms.
Garnishment order and instalment payments
There is a saying in the legal industry. “You cannot get blood from a stone.” This is important because it means you need to think about getting paid. But it also means you want to keep the opposing party financially (and physically healthy) until you can collect on your judgment.
Many people want to destroy their opponent. They might want to report them to the police or the immigration authorities. It sometimes happens that they want to get them fired from their job. Sometimes they want to destroy their marriage.
This is a terrible strategy. You need to speak to one of our lawyers in British Columbia. You need a non-bias opinion.
The court bailiff can assist | Enforcing Judgment In British Columbia
If the opposing party losses their job, goes to jail or spends $100,000 on their divorce, how are they going to pay you? They might have to now pay child support and alimony. A judge is not going to take money away from child support to pay your commercial litigation judgment.
What if they must spend $50,000 on criminal lawyer fees? That money is gone.
Your goal in starting a lawsuit shouldn’t be to destroy the other person or company. The purpose is the recover from damages.
Enforcing Judgment In British Columbia
If the company owes your company $250,000, then you want that money back. Further, you want your legal costs covered.
The litigation strategy will be completely different depending on if you are being sued, or if you are the one starting a lawsuit.
Someone that is being sued doesn’t want to be a part of the litigation process at all. However, at the same time, they are the ones that are holding something of value.
For example, if your company defaults on a loan payment, or doesn’t deliver goods, and the value of the money or assets is $300K, you are holding $300K in value.
Collect the money owed to you
A lot of people make serious mistakes when they start their lawsuit or their defence. It doesn’t seem like a big problem at the time.
However, all these issues come up after the trial is done. If one side acted poorly throughout the lawsuit, they might have to pay the legal costs of the other side. They also might get hit with special costs, which is basically a fine for acting poorly.
Sometimes you might need to have your lawyer work with a private investigator or debt collection agency. It all depends on how much money your court order is worth. If it’s only worth $15,000 it’s probably not worth it to spend a massive amount of money collecting it. You might never get paid, but you will have a moral victory.
If you get a court order for a lot of money, let’s say over $25K, then it might be worth it to invest in collecting the money.
Enforcing foreign judgments in BC
If you need help enforcing foreign judgments in British Columbia, you should read our article on the subject. It can get very complicated.
Sometimes the defendant wants to drag things out for as long as possible, even if they know they are going to lose. If a lawsuit takes two years to complete, they can invest that money that doesn’t belong to them and make money.
It’s important to know the other side. This is called the discovery process. But it should be done before the lawsuit even starts. You want to find out what assets, debts the company or person has.
You also want to know where they bank, and where their cash flow comes from. A lawyer will do many searches to find assets and property. They will look for land, real estate, and credit bureau reports.
This can feel like detective work. If the court order is a lot, you might want to get a court order to review their banking and credit card statements. You can then hire a forensic accountant, which is very expensive, to review all the information.
For high net worth clients, they might have money in a bank account in the Cayman Islands. They might have a company in Switzerland that owns their real estate in Vancouver. When you are dealing with people or companies with money, they might have hired tax lawyers or other lawyers to help them protect themselves.
Is there land owned by the debtor?
The more legal knowledge the other side has, the more difficult it may be. If you sue a lawyer, they will be able to self-represent. They also might have their assets under their wives name. This can get complicated. Sometimes people hide assets from the CRA. This will make it hard for you to find as well.
If you already have a court order, a judge might help you get paid. Your lawyer will need to set up a payment hearing. A judge can make a variety of orders to move things along. If the other side doesn’t co-operate, they can even go to jail for a few days.
Your attorney will also try to get a court order to sell any property or assets the person or company has. They can also get a court order to take some of their cash flow or part of their savings account.
Below are a few options to get paid:
- court bailiff might be able to help you get paid
- Is there land owned by the debtor?
- seize and sell their assets
- Get a garnishment order
- See if they can offer instalment payments
- Seize money from their bank accounts
- Speak to the land title office
The Provincial Court or Supreme Court | Enforcing Judgment In British Columbia
Our legal team can help you regardless of if the judgment is from the Provincial Court or the Supreme Court of BC. If the legal issue is in the Supreme Court of BC, you should be able to get your legal fees reimbursed. The other side makes it hard for you to get paid, it might cost them even more money. The Provincial Court doesn’t allow you to get your legal costs reimbursed.
There are timelines for filing documents in the court if you need help getting paid. Never wait to reach out to a law firm in BC. Enforcing judgment in British Columbia can be complex, and you need legal advice.
Sometimes your attorney might hire a collection agency to help you get paid. However, your attorney will need to carefully manage the collection agency to make sure the court orders are followed.
In conclusion, please reach out to us if you need help with enforcing the judgment in British Columbia, and you want to speak to a lawyer. They can provide legal advice if you want to get paid, or if you have a court order against you.
Author: Alistair Vigier (韦理德)