Ricochet News

Default Judgement against your name: What does that mean and what do you do?

By Ann Foster - Oct 11, 2017
Default Judgement against your name: What does that mean and what do you do?

What is Default Judgement?

  • Most times this involves a debt that has not been paid (for example an unpaid doctor’s bill or an unpaid Municipal account), and the person who is owed the debt (the creditor) decides to take legal action against the debtor.
  • After receiving a summons, the debtor decides to ignore it and then does not enter an appearance to defend or has done so, but failed to plead.
  • These failures on the debtor’s part allow the creditor to present the information about the debt to the court, and obtain default judgement against the debtor.
  • This means the court now orders the debtor to pay the debt, as well as the costs incurred getting the matter to this stage.
  • The debtor will be informed of this default judgement

What does the debtor do now?

  • The first option is to make an arrangement to pay off the debt.
  • This is normally done by contacting the attorneys who handled the matter ( their information should be on your default judgement) and making an offer of a certain amount
  • The creditor will be informed, and then decide if the offer is acceptable.

A second option is an Emolument Attachment Order:

  • Once this is granted by the Court, the employer is obliged to pay a portion of the debtor’s salary/ wages over to the judgment creditor, until the debt is paid in full
  • This is an advantage to a debtor who does not have the additional funds to make a monthly repayment
  • Since it goes from employer directly to the creditor, the debtor will not be in danger of spending all their income  before taking care of their debt

Yet another option is the Garnishee order:

  • If a debtor has another party owing them a debt, the judgment creditor can have the third party’s debt paid over directly to them ( skipping the debtor) , by using a garnishee order
  • Of course this is also facilitated via an order of court
  • This “direct payment” option continues until the debt owed by the judgement debtor to the judgement creditor is paid in full

For assistance in this regard, contact Goldberg & De Villiers Incorporated on 041 – 501 9800.