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​Garnishee orders 

AlertYou need a judgment from the court before you can apply for a garnishee order.

A garnishee order is a court order that allows you to recover the judgment debt from: 

  • ​​the other party's bank account
  • the other party's wages
  • someone else who owes money to the other party. 

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

There are two types of garnishee orders: 

    ​Garnishee order for wages or salary

    A garnishee order for wages or salary is a court order that requires an employer to garnish (withhold) part of their employees’ wages or salary to repay a debt. 

    The employer is required to leave the employee with a minimum amount of money to live on, called a weekly compensation amount. Any amount that the employee earns above the weekly compensation amount can be garnished to repay their debt. 

    The employer must continue to garnishee their employees’ wages until the whole debt has been paid or the court makes another order. 

    Step-by-step guide iconStep by step guide: Garnishee order for wages or salary

    If you are an employer and you have received a Garnishee Order for wages or salary, see Employers responsibilities when served with a garnishee order

    Garnishee order for debts

    A garnishee order for debts is a court order that tells the garnishee to pay money they hold on behalf of the other party to you. 

    A garnishee order for debts can be addressed to: 

    • ​a bank or financial institution where the other party has an account or 
    • ​the person who holds money on behalf of the other party, such as a real estate agent who collects rent for them.

    The bank, financial institution or person does not have to comply with the order unless the other party's account has a minimum amount of money to live on, called a weekly compensation amount, plus $20. 

    If the money in the other party's bank account does not cover the whole judgment debt, you can apply for another garnishee order. 

    Once 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 other party receives a government pension or 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 person that receives government benefits you should get legal advice

    For more information, see Step-by-step guide iconStep by step guide: Garnishee order for debts​.