The court ordered me to pay a legal compensation to the plaintiff. The plaintiff owed me more money than the amount of compensation. Can I usually pay that compensation with his IOU?

The plaintiff has no plan to honor that IOU.

This is a hypothetical situation. Answer from any one of the major countries such as US, UK, EU, China will help!

  • Is this a court ordered "IOU"?
    – user35069
    Apr 7, 2022 at 6:43
  • @Rick Not really. But when the court ordered me to compensate the plaintiff due to property damage, the court's document explicitly said that the main cause of my illegal action is that the plaintiff not repaying his debt.
    – dodo
    Apr 7, 2022 at 6:46
  • If this is an actual situation, why would you be interested in multiple jurisdictions or "any one of the major countries"? Apr 7, 2022 at 9:35
  • 1
    Well, the parents of OJ Simpsons murder victim were owed about 20 million dollars in compensation, so when he put the rights to his biography up for auction, they bought the rights for about 10 million and he didn't receive a penny.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 7, 2022 at 13:15
  • 2
    Yes, they just outbid everyone at the auction. They had found It impossible to get any money out of Simpson; that 20 million dollars was actually about 10 million plus interest. So they could bid up to 20 million without paying anything, and prevented Simpson from putting any money into his own pocket. They also changed the preface of the book slightly, which originally contained Simpson's explanation why he couldn't possibly have committed the murders. And obviously, they made some good money from the book.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 7, 2022 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


What you are describing is usually called a "setoff" and it is usually permitted. The mechanics of how this is done differs one jurisdiction to another, and based upon the fact pattern involved.

  • So if someone owes me a lot of money and I know they are not going to pay, does that mean I could try to find out what's the maximum damage that I can cause them that is not criminal, as a revenge?
    – gnasher729
    Apr 7, 2022 at 17:00
  • If your acts were intentional, they might be awarded punitive damages, so that is some pretty expensive revenge.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 7, 2022 at 17:08

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