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A is suing B, and the court has awarded A £5000. Who decides how this balance should be paid, and what is the most common method of payment? Is it usually done through a bank transfer or a cheque?

Can A insist on a cash settlement?

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  • Can A insist on a cash settlement? Many countries limit the amount that can be paid in cash, so B could not be free to decide about that.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 17, 2023 at 19:01
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    B can insist to pay in legal tender. A can ask for legal tender, but I wouldn't want to carry cash with me, so it would be much easier if A gives me their name, account number and sort code, and I transfer the money. It also means I have immediate proof of the payment, which is much more difficult with cash.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 29, 2023 at 19:29

3 Answers 3

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There are no rules about settlement. A judgement ordering an award of money is just that; the court does not enforce the transfer nor dictate how it's done.

If the parties can't reach an agreement themselves the claimaint can appoint Certificated Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) to collect on their behalf, and there are fees added to the claim. For judgements over £600 the claimant can also apply to the court for a writ of control and then use that to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers, who have more powers of enforcement. Bailiffs and HCEOs do have acceptable methods of payment, and cheques are typically no longer among them.

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I can't say how they are typically settled, and there are no hard-and-rules that I can find. However, Gov.uk offers this:

You’ll have to pay the person or business you owe the money to, or their solicitor. The name and address will be on the judgment form. Do not pay the court.

Make sure you can prove you’ve paid. Send a cheque or postal order by post, or make a bank transfer. Do not send cash through the post.

Keep a record of your payments and make sure you pay in time.

If you’re paying in instalments, ask the person or business you owe the money to about the best way to pay.

You may want to set up a standing order to pay the money directly from your bank account.

As for A insisting on a cash payment, it's B's debt and as long as it's not unreasonable and in accordance with the Order B should decide on how it is settled if they can't come to an amicable arrangement.

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In order to prevent this collection activity, B can pay A some or all of the amount due on the judgment, which can reduce post-judgment interest as well. There is usually a brief period of time after a judgment is entered in which the judgment can be paid before collection activities begin (typically two weeks). This could be done with hand delivered cash for which a receipt is given, a personal check (if the creditor will accept it), or good funds such as a money order, cashier's check or wire transfer.

A has the right to collect the funds involuntarily from B, for example, by garnishing bank accounts, garnishing wages, placing liens on real property owned by the debtor and foreclosing on those liens, or seizing tangible personal property and having it sold. In the case of a garnishment, the bank or employer will turn over funds otherwise payable to B to A. In the case of a seizure of real or personal property to pay a debt, the sheriff conducts an open auction and the proceeds needs of the costs of the process itself and higher priority payments of mortgage holders or the equivalent are turned over to A.

Sometimes, A will agree to forebear from engaging in collection activity if B agrees to make regular payments towards the debt and actually does so by a method that is agreed.

Another fairly common scenario is that after judgment is entered, B posts a bond to stay collection activities during the pendency of an appeal. If this is done and B loses the appeal, A can collect the judgment from the bond.

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