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Garn​ishee orders 

A garnishee order is an order made by the court to allow you to recover the judgment debt from:

  • the debtor's bank account
  • the debtor's wages
  • people who owe money to the debtor.

The person the order is addressed to (the employer, bank or person who owes money to the judgment debtor) is known as 'the garnishee'.

The rules about garnishee orders are set out in rule 39.34 - 39.43 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005.

Garnishee Order for Wages​ or Salary

The most common garnishee order is for the judgment debtor's wages or salary. This order tells the judgment debtor's employer to take an amount of money from the judgment debtor's wage and pay it to you until the whole judgment debt is paid off.

When the judgment debtor's wages are garnished, they must be left with a minimum amount of money to live on, currently $484.10​​​ per week (as at October 2016). You can check the current amount on the Local Court website.

Before paying you, the garnishee is allowed to deduct up to $13.00 for administration expenses. This doesn't come out of the money owed to you.

The Garnishee Order for Wages or Salary remains in force until the whole of the judgment debt has been paid or until the court makes other orders. 

Garnishee Order for D​ebts

This order tells the garnishee to pay money they hold on behalf of the judgment debtor to you.

A Garnishee Order for Debt can be addressed to: 

  • a bank where the judgment debtor has an account OR
  • another financial institution where the judgment debtor has an account OR
  • anyone else who holds money on behalf of the debtor, such as a real estate agent who collects rent for the judgment debtor.

If you apply for the judgment debtor's bank account to be garnished, all the money held in the account at the date of the order will be taken from the account and sent to you. If this amount does not cover the whole judgment debt, you can apply for another garnishee order.

Before paying you, the garnishee is allowed to deduct up to $13.00 for administration expenses. This doesn't come out of the money owed to you.

If the judgment debtor receives a Centrelink benefit, it can be difficult to recover your money from a garnishee order sent to their bank account. This is because all or part of the money in their bank account may be protected from the garnishee order. If you want to garnish the bank account of a judgment debtor that receives Centrelink benefits you should get legal advice

For more information, see: