Commercial Debt Recovery

At Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors we act for a number of clients who have large volumes of Debt Collection. It’s an area of Law where we have gained significant experience and considerable success over the years. Unlike other firms we pride ourselves not on obtaining Judgement, but on retrieving monies for our clients. We appreciate that the mechanisms for retrieving debts through the courts can be slow and if not used correctly, ineffective. We also recognise that the longer a debt remains outstanding the more difficult it is to recover and that in many occasions your best chance of recovering the debt is before you issue proceedings. That’s why we act immediately on instructions contacting the debtors directly by both letter and more particularly telephone, ensuring the debtor cannot ignore correspondence.

Court Jurisdictions

District Court – 0 – €6,348.69
Circuit Court – €6,348.70 to €38,092.14
High Court – Amounts over €38,092.15

 

Pre-Judgment Steps

After identifying the debtor and their correct legal identity we will contact the debtor by telephone and letter in a civil and non-confrontational manner, to negotiate the recovery of the debt. Through the recovery process we will continue this regular contact to ensure the debtor cannot ignore the situation. Where necessary we will issue the appropriate Court proceedings in a timely manner and we will strictly follow the legislative time limits to ensure that Judgement is obtained as soon as is practically possible. Where a defence is filed, we will issue a notice for Trial and call the case on for hearing

Post Judgment Enforcement

If the debt remains outstanding after we have obtained Judgment we will use one or more of these methods to ensure that the debt is recovered as quickly as possible:

Judgment Mortgages

As soon as Judgment is obtained we can register the Judgment as a Mortgage against all the debtor’s properties. This prevents the debtor from selling the property without discharging the Judgment. Thereafter we can issue proceedings for the sale of the property.

Publication

Once Judgment is obtained we can publish the name of the debtor and the amount of the Judgment in Trade Gazettes.

Execution by the Sheriff

Once Judgment is obtained we can brief the County Sheriff to enforce the Judgment against the property of the debtor

Receiver By Way of Equitable Execution

This is one of the most effective ways of enforcing a Judgment particularly against larger debts. Where the debtor is due to receive payments in the future through the likes of Single Farm Payments, Personal Injuries Actions, Rents etc we can make an application to the Courts to appoint a Receiver over the payment, so that the monies are paid directly to the Receiver and not the Debtor, until such time as the debt has been discharged.

Garnishee Orders

Similar to the appointment of a Receiver where we know a third party owes money to the debtor, we can seek a Garnishee Order from the Court directing the third party to pay the monies due to our client until the Judgment has been discharged.

The Creditor must have a Judgment Order against the Debtor.

Installment and Committal Orders

We can summon the debtor to Court to examine him or her as to their means. On foot of this examination the Court will make an installment order where the debtor must pay weekly or monthly installments until the debt is discharged. If the debtor fails to abide by the installment order we can issue committal proceedings where the Judge can make a Committal Order committing the debtor to prison.

Bankruptcy Orders

If the debtor is unable or unwilling to discharge his debts we can petition the Court to make the debtor Bankrupt. The debtor’s property is then vested in an Official Assignee and eventually realised for his creditors benefit.

Injunctions

In exceptional circumstances we can seek injunctive relief from the Courts to compel or prevent a debtor from doing something. The most effective of these is a Mareva Injunction – to prevent a debtor from dissipating their assets. However this is an extreme measure which is only granted in extraordinary circumstances.

Liquidation

Where the debtor is a Company we can petition the Court to wind up the company and appoint a liquidator over the company’s assets, which will then be distributed to the company creditors in order of priority.

The Personal Insolvency Bill

The proposed Personal Insolvency Bill is likely to be enacted in March/April 2013. This legislation will reduce the bankruptcy period from 12 to 3 years. It will also separate Debtors into three categories and offer three new Debt Settlement Systems:

  1. A Debt Relief Notice – Subject to certain conditions this will enable individuals to write off qualifying unsecured debt of up to €20,000. This will be subject to a period of supervision of up to 3 years.

 

  1. A Debt Settlement Arrangement – This system is for people with unsecured debts of over €20,000 and it provides a mechanism to enter into a settlement arrangement to repay an amount of this unsecured debt over 5 years.

 

  1. A Personal Insolvency Arrangement – This arrangement applies to secured debt of up to €3,000,000.00 and applies to unlimited unsecured debt. It is a once off arrangement where applicants will be insolvent for the next 5 years.

At Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors we can advise both Creditors and Debtors of the implications of each of the above Debt Settlement Systems and the steps that can be taken by either Creditors or Debtors to protect their positions.

Agricultural Debt Recovery

The most important piece of information in debt recovery is knowing your debtors assets. Nowhere is this knowledge more important that in the Agricultural Sector.  Unlike many other industries most agricultural debtors have assets, such as land, the harvest, Single Farm Payment or payments from other Agricultural Schemes. Once you know what these assets are, we can obtain Courts orders enforcing your Judgements against them.

At Hanahoe and Hanahoe we ensure that we keep ourselves up to date with what is going on in the farming community. We make ourselves aware of the quality of the harvest each year, the price of grain and straw, the average yield that can be expected each year, whether your debtor is entitled to a Single Farm Payment, a payment under the Organic Farming measures or Bio-Energy Establishment or any other payment scheme. Knowing and understanding your industry is invaluable and we believe this is why we have been so successful in recovering debts for agricultural clients.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.