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About garnishee proceedings

In a civil case, the court may order a party to pay a sum of money to another party. The party who needs to pay the debt is the judgment debtor, while the party who should receive the money is the judgment creditor.

If the judgment debtor does not pay, the judgment creditor may enforce the judgment in different ways. If a third party (the garnishee) owes the judgment debtor money, the judgment creditor may apply for the garnishee to pay the judgment creditor the money instead.

This will pay off the garnishee's debt to the judgment debtor and is known as a garnishee order.

Example

If the judgment debtor fails to comply with a money order to pay a certain sum of money to the judgment creditor, the judgment creditor may apply for a garnishee order against the judgment debtor's bank (who is the garnishee).

This is so that the bank will pay the money residing in the judgment debtor's bank account to the judgment creditor instead of releasing it to the judgment debtor.

When to consider

If you are the judgment creditor, you may consider garnishee proceedings if you know a third party owes the judgment debtor a sum of money.

You should have documentary proof that the judgment debtor is owed a sum of money by a third party, for example, an estimate on the amount of money the judgment debtor has in their bank accounts.

Note
If you wish to find out what assets the judgment debtor has or where their assets are located, you may choose to apply to the court for an order that the judgment debtor be examined.

What you will need

You will need to prepare the following before you file:

The affidavit should contain the following information:

  • The order or judgment to be enforced.
  • The remaining unpaid amount the judgment debtor owes you.
  • Details of the garnishee.
  • Evidence to show that the garnishee is within the jurisdiction and is indebted to the judgment debtor.
    • You should state the source of your information or the reasons for your belief.

Find out how to prepare an affidavit.

How to file

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, you must file the documents through eLitigation at the LawNet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court and the State Court Practice Directions or the Supreme Court Practice Directions to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees for filing the documents. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the ex parte summons in an existing case or an ex parte Originating Summons if you are enforcing an order of the Small Claims Tribunal

$10

File the affidavit

$1 per page, subject to a minimum fee of $10 per affidavit

Extract the Garnishee Order To Show Cause

$25; or 

$10 (for enforcing an order of the Small Claims Tribunal)

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the ex parte summons in an existing case or an ex parte Originating Summons if you are enforcing a settlement agreement registered under section 7(2) of the Employment Claims Act 2016 or an order of the Employment Claims Tribunal

$20; or

$10 (for enforcing an order of the Employment Claims Tribunal)

File the affidavit

$1 per page, subject to a minimum fee of $10 per affidavit

Extract the Garnishee Order To Show Cause

$50; or

$10 (for enforcing an order of the Employment Claims Tribunal)

Refer to the following for the filing fees if your claim is up to $1 million.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the summons

$100

File the affidavit

$2 per page, subject to a minimum of $50 per affidavit

Extract the Garnishee Order To Show Cause

$100

Refer to the following for the filing fees if your claim is more than $1 million.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File the summons

$200

File the affidavit

$2 per page, subject to a minimum of $50 per affidavit

Extract the Garnishee Order To Show Cause

$200

After you file

You will be notified of the outcome of your application for the Garnishee Order To Show Cause via a Registrar's Direction.

If your application is successful, you will have to extract the Garnishee Order To Show Cause at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau and serve it on the garnishee and judgment debtor at least 7 days before the date to attend court for the show cause proceedings as stated in the order.

At the show cause proceedings

You must attend court for a show cause proceedings together with the garnishee and the judgment debtor on the date stated on the Garnishee Order To Show Cause.

At the show cause proceedings, the garnishee may confirm if they owe money to the judgment debtor or dispute their debt due to the judgment debtor. The court may then proceed to make a final garnishee order.

This means the garnishee has to pay the money to you instead of to the judgment debtor.

Note
The court may make a final garnishee order even if the garnishee fails to attend the show cause proceedings.

A final order against the garnishee may be enforced in the same manner as any other order for the payment of money.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Refer to:

For State Courts: the garnishee proceedings video.

Legislation associated with this topic includes Order 49 of the Rules of Court.

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