District Court order for WRC enforcement - what's involved?


Registered User
Hi all. Am not a regular poster here, and hope it’s okay to ask for advice on a certain matter.

Will try to make a long story short – a former employer owes me a substantial sum (we’re talking five figures) in unpaid wages. He accepts he owes the money but has said all along he’s unable to pay. In fairness, it’s a small and struggling business, and trying to pay it in a lump sum would be nigh on impossible. I’ve accepted this all along and hoped it could instead be paid in instalments of maybe €500 to €1,000 at a time, whenever he could afford it.

It’s approx. 15 months since I left him to take up a new job. For the first few months, I’d call him regularly, and would always be told “I’m due some money in soon, and I should be able to give you some then”. But nothing ever came through.

So, last January, I lodged a case with the Workplace Relations Commission. There was a hearing in March where he fully accepted he owed the money but said he was unable to pay, and the formal finding was issued in May, which said, as expected, that he should pay the full amount.

This began a whole new round of “I’m due some money in soon and will give you something then”, but all I’ve received so far is €500 last June. This still leaves a five-figure shortfall.

In July, I got fed up of the phone calls, and instead wrote to him to say that unless he made significant inroads into the remaining debt by mid-November (i.e. six months from when the WRC ruling was issued), I’d feel I’d have no choice but to seek a District Court order for enforcement. He replied that he’d do his best and I was hopeful at the time, but to date I haven’t received even a single extra cent.

So, that November deadline is now fast approaching, and I’m trying to find out what exactly might be involved.

Does anybody have experience of this, or can anybody advise in some other way?

i.e. – is the process relatively straightforward? Is there a cost involved? Can I kick it off myself via the District Court office, or does a solicitor need to do it? I emphasise that the substantive issue itself is not in doubt – I have it in writing from him that he owes me the money, and his evidence to the WRC was also that he accepts he owes it, but has been unable to pay.

And finally….is there any point in bringing the action at all if he genuinely is unable to pay? Would it really be just a “toothless tiger” kind of thing?

And yes, I realise I didn’t make a good job of keeping a long story short! Thanks for reading anyway, and hope somebody can advise.


Frequent Poster
The process of enforcement proceedings will usually cost you money.
Eventually it will be passed to the Sheriff to seize goods to the value of your decree - just like you see on those programmes where they turn up to squeeze the money out of the debtors.
If that produces no result - not unknown - you might have to threaten the debtor with bankruptcy.

My raw instinct is that you will be lucky to get anything as it sounds like you are dealing with a professional dodger.
Unfortunately we don't have Dickensian Debtors' Prisons any more to focus deliberate debt evaders minds...........
The worry here is that if things are so dodgy for the debtor they might go in to liquidation or cease trading before payment.
In that case you are going to be an unsecured creditor and will likely get no money.

The wisest thing to do here is to see a solicitor as you are now entering the jungle of twisty procedures.
A suitably threatening legal letter might be sufficient to shake him up and get some money.
Unfortunately, determined defaulters tend to disrespect lawyers' letters.
You may have to wright off your losses on the grounds of potential legal costs -v- likely benefit.
However, I would not let it go by default without making one more try.
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