Debt Collection - Judicial Letter 166A
Debt collection is never easy. Having to collect what is your due from people who, for various reasons are unwilling to pay is no easy task. In many cases, if you are unable to recover what is due to you, one has two options - either filing a lawsuit, or else filing a judicial letter 166A.
A court case would entail years in court trying to prove that you are owed such debt. However, Maltese law provides a quicker way in which you can get back what is due to you. This is in the form of a judicial letter which needs to be formulated according to Article 166A of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta. This formidable letter can be used if the debt owed to you is certain, liquidated and due. It cannot be used if you still have to determine the amount due to you and it cannot be used if the amount has not come due yet or is uncertain. It is most often used for objects, merchandise, movables that have been sold and the buyer would not have paid the seller or by people who have rendered a service and that service has not been paid for.
When this letter is served onto the debtor, the debtor would have to answer within thirty days of being served such letter. If he fails to answer such letter, then, that letter will eventually become an executive title, which means that it will have the same effect as if it were a judgement.
Therefore, as one can see, this letter is not only cost-efficient but time-efficient as well when compared to court cases which are costly and take years.
However, what if the debtor answers the judicial letter 166A? What happens then? If the debtor answers by rejecting such a claim as he/she has every right to do, then that letter cannot become an executive title and it will not have the same effects as a judgement but it will have the same effects as a normal judicial letter calling upon the debtor to pay up. Eventually, in this case if the creditor wants to recover the debt he/she would have to file a lawsuit.
Article written by Dr Ann Marie Mangion.