We often get asked, how long can a debt collector legally pursue old debt? It is a commonly held belief that, should you have an old, unsatisfied, money Judgment against your debtor, you have lost the right to enforce payment. But is it true?
The idea may stem from section 24(1) of the Limitation Act 1980. The Act sets out that, after the expiration of a 6-year time period, action cannot be brought against any ordered Judgment.
However, the Courts have held that “action” means a fresh action – in other words, it does not include seeking to execute the existing Judgment against the debtor. Therefore, you may enforce judgements, no matter how old they are. Indeed, it has been determined that old Judgments can be used to Petition from a person’s Bankruptcy or to seek to Wind-Up a debtor Company.
However, whilst there is no absolute time limit, delay in seeking to obtain payment can have a detrimental effect.
We know that there’s no limit to the question of how long can a debt collector legally pursue old debt, but timing is usually very important when a creditor seeks to obtain payment from the debtor. Too much delay, and the debtor will be afforded the time to potentially put money out of reach. Further, interest on the outstanding sums may be limited by the Court to 6 years in certain circumstances.
Also, should the Judgment be over 6 years old then you will require permission to get Bailiffs or Enforcement Officers to attend the debtor’s property. The Court may also take any delay into account when approving methods of enforcement.
Should you have obtained a money Judgment against your debtor and you have not been paid, as at the time they failed to pay it and they either they did not have any assets or money at the time, or they had put them out of reach, then it is advisable that you do not simply forget about the Judgment. File the Judgment away and keep an eye on your debtor to see whether their financial circumstances improve.
If you would like to contact us for advice on debt recovery, then you can choose one of the following:
To help landlords understand the implications of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, we’ve summarised the key changes that it brings, ...Read More
Many landlords are in need of sound legal advice following the recently proposed section 21 changes; read our brief and ...Read More
Table of Contents What is a Section 21 Notice?When can I serve a Section 21 notice to Quit?Ensure the tenants ...Read More
Watch our video on landlord & tenant law. Our leading expert on landlord services is here to give advice on ...Read More
If an individual or Company owe you money, then what are the chances of you actually recovering that money? Even ...Read More
Our legal advice video series now has a new entry taking on the field of Litigation. This subject can be ...Read More
Astle Paterson, Clay House,
5 Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent
Staffordshire DE14 1NG
Tel . 01283 531366
Book an appointmentBurton on Trent | Uttoxeter
Business & Commercial • Conveyancing • Family • Litigation • Wills, Inheritance Tax & Probate • Employment