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Magistrate's Court Enforcement

An order of the High Court, Magistrate’s Court and Small Claims Tribunal can be enforced at Magistrate’s Court under following options;

  • Writ of Fieri Facias
  • Judgment Debtor Summons
  • Bankruptcy Proceedings
  • Garnishee Summons

1.Writ of Fieri Facias and Sale (FIFA)

The FIFA is issued by any successful party in a civil case.

The FIFA is directed to the Sheriff’s Officer who is empowered to levy by distress and sale of the personal property, wherever found within Fiji, of a Person against whom the Judgement was given after 14 days.

The Sheriff’s Officer can seize personal property belongings to a party against whom execution is to be entered, and whether held in his own name or by another party in trust for him or on his behalf (except the apparel and bedding of himself or his family and tools and implements of his trade, if any to the value of ten dollars).

After 5 days of the seizure if items, the Sheriff's Officer can sell the items by public auction after such advisement as court shall direct.

Once the money is received, it is paid to the successful party.

2. Judgement Debtor Summons (JDS)

Judgement Debtor Summons shall be served personally to the judgement debtor ( person who owes money).

It shall be served 10 clear days before the matter is called in court. The Debtor should also be paid conductment/conduct money.

Once the affidavit of service is successfully filed at the registry, the matter is called in court.

If the Judgement Debtor appears in court and admits the claim, then the court shall carry out a means test (to asses the payment capability of the Debtor) and make an order for payment.

If the Judgement Debtor fails to appear in court the Court will order a bench warrant issue for the arrest and production of the Debtor to Court.

The bench warrant is directed to the Sheriff’s Officer who is empowered to execute the same and present the Judgement Debtor in court.

Once the warrant is executed, the Judgement Debtor’s means test is done and order of payment is made by the Court.

In the event the Judgment Debtor fails to comply with the payment Order, commital proceeding can be instituted to compel payment.

An order of commitment is directed to the Sheriff’s Officer for execution. This document is only valid for 1 year. Upon execution the Debtor can pay the default amount and be released or be presented in court for necessary orders. Once the payment is made in full, the matter is closed.

3. Bankruptcy Proceedings.

A Judgement Creditor is a person who has obtained a Judgement against the Judgement Debtor in a civil case.

To initiate a bankruptcy proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court the Judgement Creditor will file a Bankruptcy Notice together with request to issue a bankruptcy notice at the Civil Registry.

The notice and request is only valid for a month.

The judgement debtor is only given 7 days time to respond to the notice and the request within whichtime he/she must write to the clerk to admit the Notice or to dispute the same .

Once the Judgement Creditor has successfully filled the Affidant of Service in court he or she shall within 3 months file a bankruptcy petition.

24 hours before the petition is called in court the judgment creditor has to file affidavit verifying debt.

Once the petition is called in court the magistrate will order a receiving order against the judgment debtor unless the petition is challenged in which case a hearing will take place.

The official receiver is constituted receiver of the estate of the debtor after the making of receiving order.

Once the amount is paid in full the official receiver will apply to court that the receiving order be rescinded.

4. A Garnishee Summons

A Garnishee Summons is a summons issued by the plaintiff on a third person who owes money to the defendant.

The third person owing money can be a bank or anyone indebted to the debtor who has obtained a judgement or order for the recovery of the payment.

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Media Release

Keynote Address by Chief Justice Anthony Gates
at the Opening of the Fiji Law Society's Convention
"Fundamentals of Private Practice" 25th September 2015,
Novotel, Suva

Click here to view/download the speech.