The most important decision to make where somebody owes you money is to decide whether he/she has in fact the ability to repay the debt since you could embark on many legal journeys.
At this stage in the economic cycle it is likely that most peoples bad debts have washed through the system and are either written off, have been collected or perhaps there is an instalment system in place.
The first step to take is to sue the debtor in Court. If the Debtor does not respond to the Court Summons then generally a judgement can be entered in the Court Office without the necessity of witnesses or an appearance in Court. A Court Judgement is a decision / Order of a Court to say that the money is owed and generally a Court would make an Order for costs against the Debtor as well although these costs can be nominal.
With a Court Order various steps can be taken to chase the Debtor. For example the local Sheriff has the power to call out to the Debtors home or place of work and seize his assets although this can be cumbersome and not always successful. An application can be made for payment of the debt by way of instalments and such an Order in certain circumstances can be served on the Debtors employer so that the payment comes out of the Debtors wage. If the Debtor has property the Judgement/Court Order can be registered against property and then the Judgement becomes a mortgage in favour of the Creditor. Obviously if the Debtor already had a mortgage on his property then it takes second or third place as the case maybe behind existing mortgages.
The existence of the Judgement can be published in various publications like Stubbs Gazette which can affect the reputation of the Debtor but at the end of the day if the Debtor has nothing to loose hard decisions need to be taken as to whether it is worth pursuing this Debtor or not.