Judgment summons in the parish court

December 12, 2016

A party to an action in the parish court who holds any unsatisfied judgment or order for the payment of debt, damages or costs, may obtain a summons issued by the clerk of the parish court within the parish court limits that the other party (judgment debtor) dwells or carries on business or alternatively from the parish court from which the judgment was obtained.

This is even if the judgment debtor does not reside or carry on business within that parish court limits.

The judgment summons is obtained pursuant to Section 223 of the Parish Court Act [The Act].

Under the act, the aggrieved party who holds the unsatisfied judgment or order, will upon completion of the summons for commitment form as shown in Schedule D, file it with the clerk at the parish court.

The clerk, after being satisfied that the form is properly completed, will issue the said judgment summons, which must be personally served on the judgment debtor.

The summons, when served and received by judgment debtor to whom it is directed, will require him to personally appear in court at a date and time specified in the summons to be examined by the court and to provide answers to the court in order to ascertain the means to discharge the debt.

The judge will seek to obtain information on the debtor's income, expenditure, the amount paid on the debt, property owned, and whether there has been any disposal of property after the judgment or order has been obtained against him.

 

PRISON TIME

 

The parish court judge has power to commit the judgment debtor to prison for 60 days unless the debt is paid sooner in circumstances where the judgment debtor, having been summoned, does not attend court and does not provide good and sufficient reason for his non-attendance.

He may also be committed to prison if he attends court but refuses to be sworn or discloses relevant information or had obtained credit by false pretence, fraud or breach of trust, or at the time the debt was incurred, did not have reasonable expectation to service the debt.

Further, committal proceedings may be issued against him if, having obtained goods for specific purpose, misapplied or failed to return them or even failed to account, or even in cases where the judgment debtor had sufficient means and ability to pay the debt, but he refuses or neglected to do so.

After examination of the judgment debtor, the judge may also make orders for the payment of specific sums over a period of time.

Persons who continue to hold these unsatisfied judgment or orders should enquire of the clerk of court if they could use the judgment summons as a means for the judge to make enquiry and ultimately enforce the judgment so that they can reap the fruits of their action against the

other party.

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