What Happens If An Employer Doesn’t Pay An AOE?

Image: Jakob Søby/jakobsoeby/Unsplash
Image: Jakob Søby/jakobsoeby/Unsplash

GK was recently instructed to act on behalf of a Local Authority (‘LA’) against an employer who failed to comply with an attachment of earnings order (‘AOE’); the AOE had been made by the Court in relation to their employee pursuant to the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.


  • The LA obtained Liability Orders against an individual in relation to unpaid Council Tax.
  • GK made an application for an AOE pursuant to Regulation 37 of the 1992 Regulations.
  • The AOE ordered the employer to make set deductions from net earnings, to be paid to the LA.
  • Following the AOE, sums were deducted from the individual’s wage (shown by their pay slip).
  • However, the employer did not then make payment to the LA.

Steps Taken 

  • GK wrote to the employer directly, reiterating their obligations under the AOE.
  • It was made clear that the failure to comply was a criminal offence punishable by way of fine.
  • Further, that retention of the sums amounted to an actionable ‘unjust enrichment’.
  • A period was given for immediate payment, failing which further action would be taken.
  • The employer made immediate payment to the LA and has maintained monthly payments since.

Takeaway Points

  • An AOE can be obtained pursuant to the Regulations or, in the case of a CCJ, pursuant to CPR 89.
  • It is an effective means of securing guaranteed repayment in a structured and consistent manner.
  • A benefit is that the obligation is transferred to the employer and so sums are recovered at source.
  • The prospect of an AOE can often prompt a debtor engagement (generally due to privacy concerns).
  • However, it is only an available option only where the debtor is in employment.
  • Also, the sum deductible is set by prescribed limits, based on income and essential living expenses.
  • The requirements of an AOE can sometimes not to be properly appreciated by an employer.
  • An explanatory letter sent after the AOE or accompanying service of the AOE can prevent this.
  • Monitoring compliance with the AOE is key.

We can assist you in bringing an AOE (or any other enforcement action). Do not hesitate to contact our Key Contacts to discuss further: https://www.greenhalghkerr.com/local-authority-recoveries/.

Emily Davison

Greenhalgh Kerr
Olympic House, Beecham Court,
Smithy Brook Rd,
Wigan WN3 6PR

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+44 (0)333 200 5200

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