What is a Charging Order?

It is an order of the court placing a ‘charge’ on the judgment debtor’s property, such as a house or a piece of land. The charge will be the amount the creditor is owed. The charging order will not normally get a creditor their money immediately, but it may safeguard their money for the future.

If the judgment debtor owns stocks or shares or has a fund or money, the court can also put a charge on these in much the same way as on property.

A charge on a property means that if the property is sold, the charge has usually to be paid first before any of the proceeds of the sale can be given to the debtor. You should note, that a charging order does not compel the judgment debtor to sell the property. However it is possible for a creditor with a charge on a property to force a sale of the property!

If there are already charges on the property when another charge is registered, for example, arising from a mortgage, then that charge will be paid first.

If the judgment debtor (or anyone else who has been served with the interim charging order), wishes to object to the making of a final order that person must file written evidence and serve a copy on you not less than 7 days before the hearing.

It should be noted that the judgment debtor can make an application for the hearing to take place at another court nearer to his home or place of business.

The judge will consider the creditors application and any evidence the judgment debtor or any other person served with the application has filed. If objections have been raised, the judge can deal with them there and then, or give directions for a hearing later on. If the judge feels that the objections are justified, the application may be dismissed. If that happens the creditor may not be able to recover the fee they paid to issue the application, and they may have to pay the costs of the party who raised the objections.

Preventing a charge being placed against your property is very difficult to defend, however it can be done. I would suggest contacting Debt Advice UK who can offer you some free advice.


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