What is a ‘garnishee order’?

Wednesday 23 May 2018
Genna Angelowitsch

An injured person who successfully sues for ‘damages’ compensation should be able to expect that the orders of the Court will be complied with in a timely fashion.  So what happens if payment isn’t forthcoming?  What can you do?

The Court has a number of different tools at its disposable if the other side (the ‘Defendant’) refuses to attend to payment within a reasonable time.  One option that is particularly useful against an individual is a garnishee order.

This is an order from the Court that requires a portion of the Defendant’s weekly income be automatically allocated to the injured person until the outstanding debt has been paid in full.  This can include legal costs that the Defendant is required to pay, as well as any interest owing on the unpaid compensation.

In order to obtain a garnishee order, you must demonstrate to the Court that the Defendant is currently employed and is receiving a regular weekly income. You must also be able to provide the identity of that current employer to the Court. The Court’s order is then addressed to the Defendant’s employer, directing them to transfer the designated wages portion to your nominated account. If the employer does not do this, they are in breach of the Court’s order and may face further ramifications.

Case study

Senior Associate and accredited specialist, Genna Angelowitsch, recently obtained a garnishee order for a victim of domestic violence.  The former partner of Genna’s client was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay her significant compensation for the injuries his abuse inflicted on her.  Despite serving his sentence and obtaining work after his imprisonment, payment of the judgment debt was still not forthcoming, so an order was made by the Court to garnish his wages until the judgment debt has been made in full.

Have you been awarded compensation but haven’t received payments?  Call one of our compensation experts for free legal advice on (03) 9321 9988.

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