What is a Stay of Execution and How Does it Affect a Limited Company

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What is a Stay of Execution and why apply?Stay of Execution is a procedure that, when granted by the Courts to suspend any current County Court Judgements (CCJs) against your company so you have time for them agree on payment plan or schedule appeal hearing.

Failure to pay a CCJ may lead to the appointment of High Court Enforcement Officers (more commonly known as bailiffs) by the creditor.

The bailiffs are then tasked with seizing assets from your business’ premises in order to recoup the debt via sale at auction.

However, there is a way to halt this process: a Stay of Execution.

What is a Stay of Execution and why apply?

When a limited company is unable to pay a county court judgement, the creditor owed can can elect the help of High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs), more commonly referred to as bailiffs. Bailiffs can seize assets from the company to sell in order to repay debts owed.

A company may avoid this however, by applying for a ‘stay of execution’ that prevents a CCJ from going ahead (temporarily) and prohibits bailiffs attending their business premises for an agreed period of time.

The stay of execution allows companies much needed time to assess and sort their financial affairs and potentially, seek a full hearing to discuss the debt and agree on a repayment plan.

Why apply for a Stay of Execution?

There are a number of reasons why someone would apply for a  stay of execution, due to the fact that it is a legal procedure which initially suspends the CCJ while your business considers alternative solutions to settling the debt. This may be specifically used if you have received a high court writ.

Take a look at what is a high court writ and what your options are.

If granted by the court, it will allow time for a company to take action to resolve the situation.

Such actions might include:

  • An informal arrangement with the bailiffs and creditors to make the debt payments in instalments
  • Using the additional time gained to restructure company finances to free up capital
  • Seeking opportunities to raise sufficient funds to clear the debt in question
  • Engaging the court to either dispute the debt or apply for a repayment plan

The Stay of Execution is in essence a procedure provides extra time and flexibility for a business to seek an alternative method of dealing with company debt.

How do you apply for a Stay of Execution?

A Stay of Execution of Judgement is simply another name for a Stay of Execution. There are two main ways in which you can apply for a Stay of Execution, using either form N245 or N244.

  • Stay of Execution application form N245 is used when the debtor wishes to agree a formal repayment plan with their creditors through the courts. To support this a comprehensive income and expenditure statement must accompany the application, showing the company’s financial status and its ability to repay the debt at the suggested amount.
  • Stay of Execution application form N244 is used when the debtor wishes to dispute the debt to which the CCJ relates. In this case supporting documentation must be submitted along with the application. In most cases a court hearing will then be arranged at which both the creditor and debtor will attend to present their cases, before a ruling is made.

The outcome of a Stay of Execution

In order to grant a successful order a stay of execution will be dependent upon on the type of application.

If a defendant has used the N244 application and this request is upheld, the court will request that the CCJ will be put on hold until a new court hearing can take place. This court hearing involves evidence from both debtor and creditor.

If the debtor has replied to the court using a N245 application and it has been accepted, the debtor will repay the creditor in instalments. It is crucial these repayments are made in a timely manner and in full. Should a debtor enter into a default situation this will  result in action from High Court Enforcement Officers to visit you at your premises.

Not all application for a stay ends with a positive outcome. If both of these types of application be refused by the courts, then your legal obligation to repay the debt immediately and in full.

Once an application has been made to the courts it’s highly likely that such a situation is going to present stress and worry for business owners. There are a number of potential solutions that business owners should be made aware of to manage the situation in a controlled manner.

The protection of the business and its directors are paramount, as such the insolvency legislation offers a range of company debt solutions. Our licensed insolvency team have a wealth of experience in guiding businesses through such situations.

If you are suffering from creditor pressure by Count Court Judgments or simply need assistant applying to court for a stay of execution as a limited company, get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.