A third-party debt order stops your debtor taking money from their bank account, and the money owed to you is paid from the account to you by the bank. Or, the order can demand a third party that owes your debtor money to pay your debt first before or instead of paying your debtor.
The bank freezes the account on the day they receive the order from the court. If the account is overdrawn, then the order will fail as it is only relevant to the account balance at the date the order is received. Therefore, the timing of the order is essential. If your debtor becomes aware of your application, they may empty the account.
If the account is not in the sole name of your debtor, you cannot apply for the order.
Once you have applied for the order an interim third-party debt order is made by the court. This is sent to the third party/ bank. Your debtor is sent a copy 7 days later. The interim order sets a hearing date. You must attend the hearing otherwise the judge could dismiss your application. At the hearing, the judge will decide if the money frozen in the account should be paid to you or not.
If the third party is not a bank. Within 7 days of receiving the interim third party debt order, they must notify the court if:
If you wish to dispute the third parties comments you must file at court and serve upon the third party and your debtor, a witness statement 3 days before the hearing. If the third-party objects to the application for a final third-party debt order they must 3 days before the hearing file at court and serve upon you details of their objections.
If the third party is a bank, within 7 days of receiving the interim third-party debt order, they must identify all accounts held in the sole name of your debtor. For each account identified they must inform you and the court:
The bank will deduct a charge from any credit balance for dealing with the search.
The third party and your debtor could apply to have the final hearing at their local county court, which could be a distance from your address.
If your debtor is an individual they may make an application for a hardship order, if they are unable to meet their living expenses. If granted by the judge the third party will be ordered to release some of the frozen funds to your debtor. This can be a single or series of fund releases until the final hearing.