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The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on a wide variety of legal issues in the Province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.
This topic discusses a Writ of Enforcement. A Writ of Enforcement is a document that that is filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench after you get a court Order or Judgment awarding you damages – it is the first step in collecting from a debtor that indicates they will not pay the judgment amount against them.
Once you have a Court Judgment
Before you file a Writ of Execution with the Court of Queen’s Bench, you must have obtained a Court Order or Judgment to pay in your favor from the small Claims Court of Provincial Court, the Court of Queen’s Bench or Employment standards. The Court Order or Judgment to pay then can be registered at the Court of Queen’s Bench. Make several copies of your Court Order or Judgment to pay. You will need 1 copy to file with the Court of Queens Bench, 1 to serve on the other party or 1 copy for each of the other parties including 1 copy for your own file. When you file your Court Order or Judgment, the clerk will stamp your copies, register your Judgment and provide you with a Court action number.
If payment is not received within the allowed time period, then file a Writ of Enforcementat the Court of Queen’s Bench, which will provide you with legal remedies to collect on your debt by garnishment or seizure of property.
Completing and Filing the Writ of Enforcement
The Writ of Enforcement form is available online at the Alberta Courts website. You will require 5 copies of the Writ. Use 1 copy as a draft. The information required on the Writ is the same information contained in your Court Order or Judgment. Spell all names exactly the way they are spelled on the Order. The forms will not be accepted if they are filled out incorrectly. Ask the Clerks at the Court of Queen’s Bench for assistance. Once the Writ of Enforcement is registered with the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Writ may be enforced anywhere in Alberta.
When you file the Writ of Enforcement at the Court of Queen’s Bench, have at least 4 copies stamped with the Court stamp. You will want a copy for your records, and a copy to leave with the Clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench. You will also want a copy to register at the Personal Property Registry and the Land Titles Office.
Your costs and interest for enforcing the Judgment should be included in the amount owing to you. For example, there is a cost to file and register the Writ of Enforcement at the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Personal Property Registry, and the Land Titles Office. Add the costs to the total debt by filling out a Subsequent Bill of Costs and file this document with the Court of Queen’s Bench.
Registration of the Writ at the Personal Property Registry
Registration of your Writ of Enforcement at the Personal Property Registry serves as official notice that you have a Court Judgment against the debtor and establishes your claim on the debtor’s assets. The registration at the Personal Property Registry is effective for 2 years, and may be renewed if required. Renewal must be done before the registration expires. To renew, register a status report providing the most current information on the amounts outstanding on your judgment. Any Writs of Enforcement that are registered before your Writ of Enforcement is registered against the debtor must be paid first.
Registration of the Writ of Enforcement at the Land Titles office also serves notice of your claim on the debtor. Conduct a search at the Land Titles office to find out what land the debtor owns in the Province and have your Writ registered accordingly. Registration at Land Titles is an effective means to collect your debt, as the debtor cannot sell the land until the debt is paid in full. Anyone purchasing the land will need to check at the Land Titles Office to see what registrations are filed against title. Also, the debtor may not be able to obtain or renew a mortgage until the debt has been paid. Registration of the Writ at Land Titles Office is in force 6 years after the judgment is obtained.
Once the debtor has paid the debt, have the debtor prepare a form of discharge for you to sign or you can provide the debtor with a Satisfaction Piece to file at the Clerk’s Office. You must register a status report at the Personal Property Registry whenever you receive payment from the debtor to update the amount owed to you. Also advise the Land Titles Office that the debt has been paid in full to remove that registration against title. You don’t need to do this where money is paid to you by the clerk of the Court from a garnishment or a civil enforcement agency seizure.
A Judgment expires ten years after it is granted. An application may be made to renew a Judgment prior to the expiration of the ten years. You will need to provide notice of the application to the Judgment Debtor.