In a civil proceeding what happens if a defendant changes addresses but does not provide a new one? He stops replying and a default judgement is imminent. Assume that a least one piece of registered mail was confirmed to have been received by him. Would all of this be a nonissue up to the point where the judgment is to be enforced? Would a private investigator be hired to find his whereabouts and then a bailiff would be used to enforce the order? What if instead of property, a monetary order was made. How would it be possible to enforce wage garnishing?

What exactly is the intent behind using registered mail? In apartment buildings the concierge signs for mail and in other scenarios the intended recipient may not be the one who happens to answer the door when the courier knocks.


In general, if a default judgement is issued then the case can be pursued by hiring bailiffs in the usual way. Bailiffs are used to people trying to evade payment and will know how to cope with it. See here for details.

Registered mail is used as evidence that it didn't just get lost in the post. If the defendant claims not to have received it then you can go to the person who signed for it and ask them. Ultimately they can be called as a witness to testify that they did indeed hand it to the recipient or whatever.

In practice a court is not going to have much patience with someone making specious claims like that; at the small claims level the presumption will be that if the mail was signed for then the recipient got it. (In the UK for small claims you can just post it without registration and it will be deemed to have been served).

  • Do you know what would happen if the default judgment is an order for money? If a defendant refuses to pay, then wage garnishing may happen. But it would have to go to a hire level of court to do that, in which case serving him the notice becomes an issue again. Apr 30 '20 at 13:05
  • @dutyanalysing The wage garnishment order would be made to the employer, not the subject (in order to ensure compliance). Your taxing authorities know where the subject works, so they know where to send the garnishment order. Trying to avoid court-mandated payments is as old as the courts themselves, they definitely have a process for enforcing the garnishment order.
    – bta
    Nov 9 '20 at 22:11

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