Can you enforce a money judgment after six years?

Money judgments usually need to be enforced within six years of being awarded, but does that mean you cannot enforce it if it goes past that time period?

The general rule is that there is a ‘limitation period’ that applies to enforcement of judgments.

Section 24 of the Limitation Act 1980 states as follows;

  • an action shall not be brought upon any judgment after the expiration of six years from the date on which the judgment became enforceable;
  • no arrears of interest in respect of any judgment debt shall be recovered after the expiration of six years from the date on which the interest became due.

Enforcement should take place as soon as possible; but it may be that the judgment debtor cannot easily be located, or he may have insufficient assets to justify an attempt at enforcement. This could mean that enforcement of a judgment only becomes viable after the six year limitation period has elapsed.

In order to enforce a judgment beyond the normal six year period, you will need to obtain permission of the court to issue a writ of execution (RSC Order 46, rule 2(1)(a)).  Your application to the court should explain why no earlier attempt at enforcement had been made. If the application is satisfactory, the court will decide whether permission to issue a writ should be granted.