Copyright (c) 1999 Journal of Legal Advocacy & Practice, Inc.
Journal of Legal Advocacy & Practice
NOTE AND COMMENT: POST-JUDGMENT ATTORNEY'S FEES FOR ENFORCING JUDGMENTS, ARE THEY COLLECTIBLE AS COSTS? THE EFFECT OF THE 1992 AMENDMENT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 685.040
1 J. Legal Advoc. & Prac. 131
Eric J. Gold
Who is responsible for attorney's fees incurred in efforts to enforce judgments? The general rule, before 1992, was that attorney's fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are not included as costs unless otherwise provided by law. 1 So, how can practitioners assure that fees and costs incurred to enforce a judgment are collectible pursuant to a judgment in order to protect themselves and their clients' interests? The answer to this question depends on whether the judgment enforcement activities are subject to the 1992 Amendment to California Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040, which became effective on January 1, 1993. 2
The enforcement of civil judgments is subject to detailed statutory provisions. 3 These provisions were strewn throughout the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) and other codes until 1982, when the Enforcement of Judgments Law (EJL) was adopted and implemented on July 1, 1983. 4 The EJL was codified in the California CCP, and it provides the exclusive means by which a judgment creditor may seek to enforce a judgment. 5 The EJL does not merely determine the means by which a judgment may be enforced, it also provides whether the costs incurred in the enforcement of that judgment are recoverable by the judgment creditor. 6
Prior to the 1992 amendment to CCP section 685.040, costs recoverable in enforcing a judgment did not include attorney's fees. 7 Such attorney's fees were recoverable as costs only where otherwise provided by law. 8
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