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Attachment of Debts

judgment, court, debtor, garnishee, debt and person

ATTACHMENT OF DEBTS is a mode of enforcing a judgment, whereby the judgment creditor may obtain payment to himself on account of his judgment debt, of debts due from third parties to the judgment debtor. In the High Court the creditors proceed by way of garnishee. He first of all, having discovered a person who is indebted to his debtor, makes an ex parte application to the Court for a garnishee order. This application must be supported by an affidavit showing that the applicant has obtained a judg ment against his debtor, the amount thereof, and what is still unpaid. It must also state the name and address of the third person from whom money is due to the debtor. The Court will thereupon issue an order directed to the third person, that the latter must pay his debt, or so much as is sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt, to the judgment creditor instead of to the judgMent debtor, unless he shall show cause to the Court why he should not do so. This order nisi must be served upon the third person, who is called the "garnishee," and from the time of service binds all the money of the debtor in his hands, r.nd even an accruing debt. Then, on the day fixed in the order, the Court, unless the garnishee shows cause to the contrary, makes the order absolute, and the judgment creditor may levy an execution upon the goods of the garnishee for the amount thereof. Payment by the gam:slice to the judgment creditor is a full discharge as against the judgment debtor. Of course the garnishee, if there is a bond fide dispute as to his liability and he can make out a prim4 facie case, is entitled to the same trial and advantages that he would have had as against the judgment debtor. If a judgment creditor has no actual knowledge of any person being indebted to his judg ment debtor, he may take out a summons against the latter and examine him as to his means and debts due to him, and enforce the production of his books of account. Unliquidated damages due to a judgment debtor are not avail

able for attachment; nor money due to a shareholder from a company in its voluntary winding-up ; nor purchase-money payable upon completion of a sale of real property ; nor wages due to a seaman, servant, labourer, or work man ; nor the future income of the tenant for life of a trust fiend; nor salary accruing, but not actually due ; nor the pay or pension of an officer. A. banker may be garnisheed in respect of any balance in his hands to the credit of the judgment debtor's account.

In the County Court the principles and practice in garnishee pro ceedings are substantially the same as in the High Court. An important difference, however, is that, instead of an order being issued against the garnishee, it is a summons, which, though operating to bind moneys in the same way as the order, specifies a day for the hearing of the matter, when, in case of dispute, the liability of the garnishee is generally determined without further proceedings. If the garnishee pays into Court the amount claimed five clear days before the hearing of the summons, he is not liable for any costs. See ACTION; COUNTY COURT; EXECUTION.

In Scotland, arrestment of debt or movables in a third party's hands is enforced by an action of forthcoming. When several creditors have taken such process, the arrestee may bring an action to have it decided who is entitled to the fund. By then paying money into Court, or giving security, he is entitled to his expenses. The creditor's debt may be either liquidated or in process of liquidation at the time of the action, but the action cannot be brought in respect of a debt not yet due. The wages of workpeople cannot be arrested, except as to the amount over twenty shillings per week, except for alimentary debts, and rates and taxes.