1. The position in respect of the enforcement of judgments in the Isle of Man is governed by primary and secondary legislation and the common law. The primary legislation includes the Judgments Enforcement Act 1886 and the Administration of Justice Act 1981 which includes powers in respect of the arrest and, where appropriate, the sale of money, securities and property other than land (Schedule 1) and the arrest and sale of land (Schedule 2). The secondary legislation includes the Rules of the High Court of Justice 2009 in particular Part 12.

2. There are specific provisions concerning enforcement by way of:
     (a) execution;
     (b) the appointment of a receiver;
     (c) an arrestment order in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the court to attach debts for the purpose of satisfying judgments or orders for the payment of money;
     (d) a charging order over or against the judgment debtor’s interest in an asset pursuant to section 14A of the 1981 Act; and
     (e) an attachment of earnings order.

3. Deemster Luft in Flintshire Car Hire Company Limited v Road Runner Freight Services (1978) Limited 1981-83 MLR 1 confirmed that the coroner (an officer of the court who enforces executions) was at common/customary law entitled to arrest the debts owing to a judgment debtor in the hands of a third party such as a bank.

4. In addition, a court may make an order of imprisonment against a judgment debtor in accordance with:
    (a) section 17 of the Bankruptcy Procedure Act 1892; and
    (b) the Imprisonment for Debt Act 1928.

Deemster Callow considered an application for committal to prison in default of payment of a judgment debt in Jancar Holdings Limited and Silletto v Potter 1987-89 MLR 426.
In modern times it would be rare for the court to exercise such a power.

5. If a judgment creditor wished to try and allege that assets were held through corporate structures on behalf of the judgment debtor then the judgment creditor would have to successfully attack the principle of separate corporate identity and endeavour to persuade the court to pierce the corporate veil. Manx law in effect follows English law in this respect (Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] 2 AC 415 and Woman LLC and others 2016 MLR 365).

6. Moreover, a judgment creditor may allege that certain assets which were once directly held by the judgment debtor have been wrongly transferred to a third party such as a trustee or a company to defeat just claims. In such circumstances the judgment creditor may endeavour to rely on the Fraudulent Assignments Act 1736 which provides that “all fraudulent Assignments or Transffers of the Debtor’s Goods or Effects shall be void and of no Effect against his just Creditors, any Custome or Practice to the contrary notwithstanding”. This statutory provision was considered by Deemster Cain in Re Heginbotham 1999-01 MLR 53.


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The guidance in this note is for information purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive. It is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. Cains accepts no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information in this note.

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