The Civil Enforcment Act
Civil Enforcement & the Civil Enforcement Act
The Civil Enforcement Act is the Alberta legislation that includes the rules and laws around enforcing judgements and recovering money from debtors. This act includes information about the procedures, forms and agencies that are part of the civil enforcement system. Current and prospective landlords should understand Civil Enforcements: any time a court awards you a monetary judgement against a tenant, it will be up to you to take the proper steps to recover the money and enforce the judgement because the court will not do this for you.
Once you have successfully obtained a judgement in your favour, you must begin the process of collecting from the defendant or debtor. This can be a long and complicated process depending on the debtor and the circumstances surrounding the judgement, and going through some of these steps will cost money on your part.
This Civil Enforcements Guide is for your information, helping you understand the process and terminology outlined in the Civil Enforcements Act, and is intended to be informational only. If you are unsure how to proceed with your own Civil Enforcement, please contact me for more specific information, or seek a lawyer's assistance.
Before getting started with any enforcement, the first step is to determine whether or not the time, effort and money you invest in the process is worth it. The civil enforcement process can take a long time, and you will have to put some money into it before getting any money out of it. In this section, we review the Personal Property Registry and go over the most important things to understand before you even begin the process of a Civil Enforcement.
Once you have decided to proceed with your civil enforcement, the first step is to file your Judgement with the Court of Queen's Bench or with the Provincial Court. Then you must file a Writ of Enforcement, which allows to enforce your judgement and share in any money paid to the court through garnishee or seizure on your debtor. This section covers the process filing your Writ of Enforcement and how to keep it active.
The Collection Process
Once you have registered your judgement and filed your Writ with the Clerk of the Court of Queen's Bench, the Personal Property Registry, and the Land Titles Office, you can then begin the collection process. At this point you must decide which method of collection you want to pursue, garnishee or seizure.
Garnishment is the process where money owned to a debtor is diverted to his creditors, most often being funds from a bank or an employer, which then are paid by the Court to all registered creditors. This section covers the garnishee process including the Garnishee Summons and serving a Garnishee.
Seizure is a process where you have a registered Civil Enforcement Agency seize items belonging to debtor which can then be sold. The proceeds of the sale will go toward paying all creditors owned by the debtor. This section covers the seizure process including the various documents required to begin a seizure and the sale of property.
Before beginning your own Civil Enforcement action, it's a good idea to review our glossary of terms to make sure you understand all the legal jargon you'll be seeing in many of the documents you will be filling out. It's important to understand the documents needed to enforce a court judgement, and I have built this glossary as a go-to reference you can use when reading about Civil Enforcements and the Civil Enforcement Act.
Need more comprehensive information? Here are links to the Alberta Court and Government websites that talk more about Civil Enforcements and how to get your Judgement. Looking for particular forms? I've tracked down the ones that are available online and linked you there. Not sure where the nearest Registry or Enforcement Agency is? Find links and address to make your search for these important services fast and easy.