third party debt order factsheet
A Third Party Debt Order or TPDO for short, is an order of the court that freezes money held by a person, organisation or institution, such as a bank or building society, which might otherwise be paid to a judgment debtor.

The organisation or person that is holding the money is referred to as the ‘third party’. The TPDO prevents the debtor having access to the money until the court makes a decision about whether or not the money should be paid to you.

So in cases where the ‘third party’ is a bank or building society, the debtor’s account will effectively be ‘frozen’ in the sum of what you are owed plus any associated costs and interest. This sum is released to you by an order of the court if the judge rules that this is the appropriate course of action to take.

TPDOs are quite technical applications and as such we manage all the in’s and out’s for our clients.

For example the money held by the third party must be held solely for the benefit of the debtor. If the money in a bank account is held jointly with someone else then the application for a TPDO won’t get off the ground unless the judgment is against both the account holders.

But the application has its uses. Say, you know your debtor is owed money by someone who owes your debtor money. Perhaps your debtor is waiting for an invoice to be paid by one of his customers, or perhaps he has money in a solicitor’s client account following the sale of a property which he is waiting to receive.

In these situations, the TPDO can be made against the debtor’s debtor, and the money that person or entity was going to pay your debtor can be paid to you.

To apply for a Third Party Debt Order, you can fill in our online application form which follows court form N349. You pay the fee to us and a management fee for taking care of the application for you. In completing our online form you will the following information to hand:
  • the judgment debtor’s name and address;
  • the total amount of the judgment, the amount still owing including any costs and interest, and, if the judgment was payable by instalments, what the total amount of the instalments that are in arrears is – but don’t worry we can talk you through this so we get the right amount in the application for you;
  • the name and address of the third party; the address must be in England or Wales. Again we can help you with this so you include the correct details;
  • whether or not you know if there is anyone else who has an interest in the same money (with details if there is); and whether or not you have made any other applications for third party debt orders in respect of the same judgment – and again we can help with this so your form is in the correct form for your application to the court.
If the third party is a bank or building society we need to complete the name and address of its Head Office.

You should include on our online form:
  • the name of the branch where the account is heldthe branch address
  • the bank’s sort code
  • and if you have it the debtor’s account number
All this information is required to prevent judgment creditors from carrying out ‘fishing expeditions’ by merely applying for Third Party Debt Orders against a whole range of financial institutions in the hope that one of them may hold an account for the judgment debtor!

Timing can be the crucial element in the success or failure of the application for a Third Party Debt Order. This is because they only ‘bite’ on the day that the order is made and received by the financial institution in question. The court order which is initially sent to the third party will only ‘freeze’ money held in an account on the day it is received by (served on) the third party. So if, for example, the order is received a couple of days before the debtor’s salary is paid into the account, you are likely to receive little or nothing if the account is empty. This is because the ‘freeze’ will not be applied to any money paid into the account after the court’s order was received. This in itself can make TPDOs a tricky application and we think our online application form makes it a lot simpler for clients because we take care of all the technical points.

As with all court-based enforcement methods, there exists an element of judicial discretion in the granting or the order. However, in the normal course of things, the judge will consider your application and any other evidence you, the third party, or the judgment debtor has filed.

If the judge is satisfied that a final order should be made, an order will be drawn in Form N85 (final third party debt order). If there is sufficient money, the final order will allow the third party to pay to you the judgment debt and costs and your costs of making the application. If the final order is for a lesser amount, the costs of making the application will be paid first and part of the judgment debt will remain outstanding.

We will send you a copy of the order which will also be served on the third party and the judgment debtor. The third party will be told how much to pay you and the date by which it is to be paid. Remember that the court cannot order the third party to pay you an amount that is more than the amount originally frozen. If this is less than you are owed, then you may want to consider other enforcement procedures to recover the balance.

A Shergroup Legal Advisor will be able to help you on all these matters so for more information contact Shergroup today on

+44 (0)845 890 9200

Resources for this method of enforcement:

Online Instruction Form
Video : what is a third party debt order hearing?