How do I apply for an order to obtain information from a person who owes me money?

You can apply for an order to obtain information any time after you have obtained judgment. The judgment debtor does not have to be behind with their payments.

If the judgment debtor is an individual complete Form N316 Application for order that debtor attend court for questioning. You must make the application to the court where your claim is proceeding.

You will need to know the name and address of the judgment debtor, details of the judgment you have, where there are any particular questions you want put to the judgment debtor and where there are any particular documents you want the judgment debtor to bring to court to provide information, or support the information being sought.

If the judgment debtor is a company use Form N316A Application that officer of company attend court for questioning giving the description of the company officer eg Director, Company Secretary and that person’s address. You can find out who the officers of a company are, and their addresses, by searching the Companies Register at Companies House telephone 0303 1234 500.

The court will draw up an order in Form N39 (order to attend for questioning) using the information you have provided in your application.

This order will:

  • give the time, date and place for the judgment debtor (or company officer) to attend to be questioned. This is not always at the court where you issue your application)
  • give an explanation that the judgment debtor (or officer) must attend at the time, date and place given and must answer, under oath, the questions asked by the court officer
  • tell the judgment debtor(or officer) to ask you to provide sufficient money to cover any travel expenses to and from the court if it is needed, and that this request must be made to you within 7 days of receipt of the order to attend
  • tell the judgment debtor (or officer) who wishes to pay the amount due that payment should be made directly to you

The order contains a warning to the judgment debtor (or officer) that failure to do what the order says may result in imprisonment. All orders that may lead to imprisonment must be served personally.

This order must be served ie handed to the judgment debtor (or officer) personally (called personal service). That is, you, or someone on your behalf, must hand the order to attend for questioning to the judgment debtor (or officer) personally. However, an Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) may serve the order on your behalf, there is an additional fee for this service. If the Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) is unable to serve it on the judgment debtor (or officer) in time, the court will let you know. A new date will be given and the papers will be returned to the Enforcement Agent (Bailiff). The court will tell you the new date for when the questioning is.

If you are responsible for serving the order to attend (the court will have sent you two copies of the order (Form N39), one to hand to the debtor and one to use later to confirm service. You should return both copies of the order to the court where the questioning is to take place. You should explain that you have not been able to serve the order in time and ask for another date to be set. You must do this no later than 7 days before the date set for questioning. The court will set a new date and return the two copies of the order to you for further attempts at service.

The order to attend must be service no less than 14 days before the questioning is to take place. The order must not be left with someone else at the debtor’s (or officer’s) address or posted through the letterbox.

You do not need to attend the questioning unless you particularly want to. The court officer will record the answers on which form is appropriate and you will be sent a copy of the completed form. This form will tell you what documents the judgment debtor produced to support the information given.

If you receive payment in full before the questioning takes place, you must let the court know immediately.

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