Understanding Debt

If you owe money to a person, group of people, or company, you are known as a debtor.

A person, group of people, or company that you owe money to is called a creditor.

Where a debt remains unpaid, creditors are entitled to make a debt claim.

Note: A debt cannot be claimed through the Small Claims Procedure. For more information on the Small Claims Procedure, please see our Small Claims page. If you need information on Personal Insolvency, please see our Personal Insolvency page. 

How Can an Unpaid Debt Be Resolved? 

There are two ways to resolve an unpaid debt:

Resolving an unpaid debt without going to court

Generally, it is quicker and less expensive for debtors and creditors to deal directly with each other about an unpaid debt, by reaching an agreement that is both affordable and sustainable, without going to court.

This may include an agreement signed by those involved, or a mediated agreement, both of which may save you time and expense.

You may wish to consider contacting someone for advice on mediation, or seek advice from nationwide support services.

Resolving an unpaid debt through the courts

If an agreement is not reached, legal proceedings may be initiated to recover the money owed. This is called making a debt claim. For more information on debt claims, please see the section below.

Civil Law matters can be complicated and so you should consider seeking
legal advice.

What is a Debt Claim?

A debt claim is a legal process where a creditor can claim repayment or recovery of money owed by the debtor.

The debt claim must be for a specific amount of money. For example, the claim can be for an unpaid invoice for goods supplied or a service provided, or for an unpaid loan.

Where are Debt Claims Dealt with?

The amount of the debt claim often determines the court in which someone can begin legal proceedings. There are three jurisdictions in Ireland – the District Court, the Circuit Court, and the High Court. Most debt claims are heard in the District Court or Circuit Court.

    You might want to consider seeking legal and financial advice to better understand what's involved. You may also want to consider having legal representation in court regarding your debt claim. Please note that you may be charged fees for these services. For more information, please see our legal advice and mediation page. 

    More information on how to make a debt claim.