I have a judgment against someone who owes me money but they say they are broke. Is there any way to enforce my judgment and see if they have any assets?
Getting a judgment can sometimes be the easy part, with the hard being to actually get paid. Thankfully, a lawyer can help you find out what assets the other party has, and can help you take their property to enforce your judgment.
In Saskatchewan, the Sheriff isn’t just a gun-toting guy from a Clint Eastwood movie – it’s a full government department with the authority to find and seize assets, in order to make sure people who obtain judgments get paid.
Usually, someone who doesn’t want to pay you will tell you they don’t have the money. Sometimes that is not true. For this reason, the law allows a person entitled to judgment, to question a debtor about their assets. The debtor is forced to list all their assets on a questionnaire. If they refuse to do that, the debtor can convene a questioning under oath before a court reporter, and ask questions about their bank accounts, employment salary, vehicles, insurance, mutual funds, etc. With that information, a judgment creditor can then tell the Sheriff where to serve enforcement documents.
If the debtor still refuses to do the above, you can proceed to court to ask a judge to order the person to provide complete and accurate information. If they then fail to obey, they may be guilty of an offence and face a fine or prison time for contempt of court.
Although the process seems straightforward, it involves a lot of rules, time, and know-how. Choosing the right assets to seize isn’t as easy as you think and the process can take time and legal fees. Speak to a lawyer to get a realistic sense of your chances of getting paid, and some potential timelines for your particular case.
The above is for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.