Enforcement warrants - how to respond

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If you are an enforcement debtor and you are served with an enforcement warrant, the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) (UCPR) provide two ways in which you might rebuff an enforcement warrant.

These include judgment debt by instalment or application for a stay of the enforcement warrant. Each is set out separately below.

Judgment debt by instalment

You can apply to the court under rule 868 for an order allowing you to pay the judgment debt by instalment. To do this you need a Form 9 Application and a Form 46 Affidavit. Forms can be accessed here.

Rule 869 sets out the factors that the court must consider in deciding whether or not to grant an instalment payment order.

These are:

a) Whether you are employed;
b) Your means of satisfying the debt and interest within a reasonable time;
c) Your necessary living expenses, and the expenses of the debtor's dependents;
d) Your other liabilities; and
e) Whether or not the order you have asked for would be consistent with the general policy of enforcing judgments quickly and with a minimum of expense.

Stay of enforcement warrant

Once you receive notice that the other party has an enforcement warrant, you could apply:

  • under rule 800 for a stay of the enforcement warrant if there are facts discovered since the time of the judgment that would justify a stay of the enforcement, or
  • under rule 290 if you are seeking to stay the enforcement of a default judgment.

The courts have consistently said that a party that has a judgment is entitled to the enforcement of that judgment: Virgtel Ltd v Zabusky (No. 2) Pty Ltd [2009] QCA 349. Stays are therefore only rarely granted.

If you can point to serious hardship and temporary inability to pay, but satisfy the court that with some time you will be able to meet the judgment, then this may convince the court to allow you a short extension of time.

If the judgment against you is a default judgment and you have some grounds to attack the decision, you might strengthen your decision by also bringing that application. In most cases, an appeal is the proper way to attack a decision on the merits.

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