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Stay of proceedings/stay of enforcement

A stay of enforcement (sometimes called a stay of proceedings) is an order of the court that stops you from enforcing the judgment debt for a period of time.

Enforcement is the action you can take to try and make the judgment debtor pay the debt after you have judgment against them. For more information on enforcement, see Enforcing a judgment debt.

A judgment debtor may apply for a stay of enforcement in two circumstances:

  1. At the same time as they apply to set aside a default judgment. The stay stops enforcement action from being taken or from continuing, until the court deals with the application to set aside a default judgment. For more information on an application to set aside default judgment, see Responding to an application to set aside default judgment.
  2. If you have started enforcement action, the judgment debtor may make an urgent application to the court to stop this enforcement action. They may want time to make arrangements to borrow money or sell property to pay the debt.

After the judgment debtor has made an application for a stay of enforcement, the court may make a temporary order without a hearing.

You will then be sent a copy of the application and the temporary order and told when you need to go to a court hearing about the application.

The application will include an affidavit from the judgment debtor explaining why they want the stay of enforcement.

You will need to decide whether to agree or disagree with the stay. You should get legal advice before you make your decision.

If you agree (consent) the stay may be extended.

If you disagree with the stay, you should prepare your own affidavit explaining what you don't agree with and why. You should annex (attach) copies of any relevant documents.

You will need one form:

  • Form 40 - Affidavit

You can get copies of forms from:

You should try to serve your affidavit on the judgment debtor before the day of the hearing. You can give a copy of your affidavit to the registrar or magistrate at the hearing.

On the date of the hearing you may oppose the application to stay enforcement because:

  • you think the judgment debtor may be transferring or selling assets to avoid paying you
  • the judgment debtor has avoided paying the debt for a long time.

For more information, see Responding to an application to set aside default judgment - Frequently Asked Questions.