Citizens Advice Bureau

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LOCAL INFORMATION
4.32.0.L10
Bounced cheques

Extent: Jersey
Updated 11 April 2018
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Words you need to know

An Affidavit  is a written statement of facts which you make and which you have to swear on oath before an advocate or solicitor to say it is true.

A ‘bounced cheque’ is a cheque that someone has written and given to someone but which has not been paid out by the bank and is returned by the bank to the person who wrote it. 

A civil action is a legal action taken by an individual/s or companies etc against other individuals/ companies etc.

A criminal action is a legal action taken against an individual/s or companies etc  by the Police and lawyers appointed to act on behalf of the Crown.

A Creditor is someone who is owed money

A Debtor is someone who owes money

Ordre provisoire  this is a ‘provisional’ or ‘temporary order’ that is made by a court as a temporary measure until such time as a case can be heard fully.

Civil Action -  bounced cheques 

Where a cheque has " bounced" you need to take civil action to get the money back. You can consider taking an action in the Petty Debts Court and asking for an order to be made that the debtor must pay you back all the money he owes. To get such an Order you need to file a summons  (see 4. 8. 2 ) Often a debtor will pay what he/she owes before  a claim is heard in court.

However, if the summons is heard before the Court and an Order is made a copy is given to the debtor and another will be available for  the creditor to collect from the Petty Debts Court Office 48 hours (ie two working days) after the Court date.  If after the Court hearing the debtor still does not pay the money owed the creditor can ask for the help of the Viscount’s department to get the Order enforced. (See 4.8.2B Act of Court)

As with all Court Orders it is the responsibility of the Viscount to make sure the Order is carried out.  If an Order is made that involves repayment of a debt by a debtor the Viscount can take (‘seize’) and sell the debtor’s goods so that the creditor can be paid the sum of money stated in the Order.

Civil Action - Ordre Provisoire (a provisional order)

This is only important if there is a worry that the debtor is planning to leave Jersey.  The Ordre Provisoire allows the Viscount to take the debtor's goods and sell them without the need to have a court hearing.

i)             If the amount is up to £30,000 you should apply to the Petty Debts Court Greffier for an Ordre Provisoire to be made by the Magistrate. The fee to do this is £25. You will need to have a sworn affidavit and to get this you will need to get legal help.  Unless you qualify for legal aid, your legal help will have to be paid for.

ii)            If the amount in the bounced cheque is for more than £30,000 your lawyer will need to ask the Judicial Greffier of the Royal Court for an Ordre Provisoire. This claim will be dealt with by the Bailiff in Chambers. The current fee for an Ordre Provisoire is £50 plus £4 Jurat Stamps. As your lawyer will have to be paid, you need to work out if taking the case to court is worthwhile.  Often it is not as it may cost you more than the debt is worth to take legal action.

Once the Ordre Provisoire is granted the process is the same as for an ordinary Court order. The order will be given to the debtor, and the creditor, who asked for the Order Provisoire can obtain a copy and, if necessary  can ask for it to be enforced.  If it is, the Viscount can seize and sell the debtor’s goods so that the creditor can be paid. Often before that happens, the debtor pays what  he/she owes.

Criminal Action – bounced cheques

You commit a fraud if you give someone a cheque which you know will not be honoured (or paid ) by the bank.

If a cheque is given by someone who knows that the bank will not pay the amount because they have no money in their account or that their account is overdrawn, that person is guilty of theft because the person who received the cheque expecting to get paid the money he/she was owed (eg for supplying goods or services) will not be paid what is due to them.

The person who has received the bounced cheque can report the person who gave them the cheque to the police.

If the police are satisfied that the complaint is not trivial the police will investigate the matter and decide whether or not to prosecute the person who gave the cheque for fraud.