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Judgments Enforcement (Northern Ireland) Order 1981

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Changes over time for: Imprisonment for wilful default

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Imprisonment for wilful defaultN.I.

Limitation on arrest and imprisonment of debtorsN.I.

106.  Save as otherwise expressly provided by Article 115 or by any other statutory provision, a person shall not be arrested or imprisoned for making default in payment of any amount due or recoverable on foot of any judgment or of any instalment thereof except in accordance with Article 107.

Committal for defaultN.I.

107.—(1) A court may, subject to this Article and in accordance with rules of court, make an order committing to prison until payment of the relevant amount, but not in any event for a term exceeding six weeks, any person who makes default—

(a)in payment of the amount due or recoverable on foot of a judgment; or

(b)in payment of any one or more than one instalment due under an instalment order under Article 30 or under paragraph (3); or

(c)in payment of an amount due under an order for the periodical payment of money made by the High Court or a F1... county court in the exercise of its matrimonial jurisdiction[F2 or by the High Court or a F1... county court in the exercise of its civil partnership jurisdiction].

(2) A person shall not be committed to prison under paragraph (1)—

(a)by a county court, where—

(i)the judgment is that of the High Court and the amount due on foot thereof exceeds[F3 £15,000;] or

(ii)the order was made by the High Court in the exercise of its matrimonial[F2 or civil partnership] jurisdiction;

(b)by a court of summary jurisdiction, where the judgment is not a judgment of such a court;

(c)by any court, where the relevant amount is due on foot of a judgment which is enforceable through the Office, unless an application has first been made for the enforcement of the judgment by the Office.

(3) Upon the hearing of an application for committal under paragraph (1), a court may make an order directing that the amount due or recoverable on foot of the judgment or any part thereof, or the instalments or any one or more than one of them, in respect of the payment of which default has been made, be paid by instalments and thereupon the court may—

(a)dismiss the application; or

(b)adjourn the hearing of the application; or

(c)make an order but stay its execution so long as the debtor complies with the order.

(4) The jurisdiction conferred by this Article may be exercised only where it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the person making default either has or has had, or but for his act or default would have had, since the date of the judgment or of the instalment order, as the case may be, the means to pay the amount due or recoverable on foot of the judgment or any part thereof, or the instalments or any one or more than one of them, in respect of which he has made default, and has refused or neglected or refuses or neglects to pay the same.

(5) Where an attachment of earnings order is in force, an order under this Article shall not be made in respect of any failure to pay the amount recoverable on foot of the judgment in respect of which that attachment of earnings order has been made.

Proof of meansN.I.

108.—(1) The making of an instalment order under Article 30 or under Article 107 (3) (otherwise than on consent) shall, until the contrary is proved, be evidence that the debtor has the means to pay the amounts specified in the instalment order.

(2) Subject to paragraph (1), proof of the means of a person making default may be given in such manner as the court may think fit; and, for the purposes of such proof, the debtor and any witnesses may be summoned and examined on oath.

Discharge of debtor from custodyN.I.

109.  Any person imprisoned under Article 107 shall be discharged from custody upon a certificate, signed in such manner as may be prescribed by rules of court, to the effect that he has satisfied the amount specified in the order of committal as the sum in respect of which that order is made and the amount so specified of any costs ordered to be paid by him.

Appeal from committal orderN.I.

110.  Any person aggrieved by an order under Article 107(1) committing him to prison may appeal therefrom—

(a)where the order was made by the High Court, to the Court of Appeal; or

(b)where the order was made by a county court, to the High Court; or

(c)where the order was made by a court of summary jurisdiction, to the F4... county court;

in accordance with rules of court, and the decision of the court shall, except as provided by Article 61 or 62 of the County Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1980 [1980 NI 3] , be final and conclusive.

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