What is a High Court Enforcement Officer?

Enforcing a County Court Judgment

A High Court Enforcement Officer is able to enforce County Court Judgments (CCJs) over the value of £600 by transfer up to the High Court.

A High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) is an officer of the High Court of England and Wales responsible for enforcing judgments of the High Court, often by seizing goods or repossessing property. They operate only in England and Wales.

A High Court Enforcement Officer may in some cases enforce County Court Judgments (CCJs).

How a High Court Enforcement Officer can help you

If you have been to court and gained a County Court Judgment you will soon realise that this is often only the first part of the process of getting your money back. The judgment has to be enforced and the money collected.

High Court Enforcement is often the most effective option for collecting the money you are owed. High Court Enforcement Officers have greater powers than County Court Bailiffs to collect the monies owed by the debtor. They operate fast, out of hours, including weekends and can only charge their fees once successful.

What types of work does a High Court Enforcement Officer do?

  • Enforce High Court judgments
  • Enforce County Court judgments over £600 that have been transferred to the High Court
  • Enforce Employment Tribunal and ACAS awards
  • Enforce Orders for possession for the recovery of property, including land.
  • Enforce Orders for Delivery to repossess specific goods.

Quality Bailiffs High Court Enforcement

Quality Bailiffs authorised High Court Enforcement Officer is Frank Whitworth. Our second HCEO is Kate Fellows. We can assist you with transferring up County Court Judgments to the High Court for enforcement of judgments (including costs) of over £600. Once we receive the Writ of Control, we can enforce it anywhere in England and Wales through our 14 local offices.

Our experienced and very successful team feature on the BBC’s “The Sheriffs are Coming” 2020 Series.

The Sheriffs are Coming

10 reasons to use Quality Bailiffs to enforce your writ

  1. Free transfer up from County Court to High Court for enforcement. You just pay the court transfer fee.
  2. Experienced and Qualified Team headed by our authorised HCEO Frank Whitworth, complemented by our second officer Kate Fellows.
  3. Award winning customer service from our account managers - Best Property Enforcement Specialist of The Year 2019.
  4. Enforcement delivered by hand-picked local Enforcement Agents.
  5. Free trace verification. Once we receive the writ back, we run the details through a licensed credit reference agency to verify the address, provide any additional address, give indications of vulnerability.
  6. Automated emailed reports with photograph of each address visited.
  7. Our roots can be traced back to 1948.
  8. One stop shop for all your enforcement and emergency security needs.
  9. Fully insured Public Liability, Employers Liability, Professional Indemnity.
  10. Accreditations - ISO 9001, Safe Contractor, CHAS.

Standard service or Premier Service

We offer 2 service levels:

  • Standard Service. For customers only requiring email support during the recovery process.
  • Premier Service. For customers wanting telephone support and assistance with the recovery process. Premier service also offers additional benefits.

Standard Service

Our standard service is suitable for:

  • Individuals and businesses conducting their own litigation and legal matters.
  • Individuals and businesses with experience dealing with debt recovery.
  • Legal professionals.

We provide:

  • Free help with the transfer up of the CCJ to the High Court.
  • A Free residency check and trace when we receive the writ.
  • Up to 3 visits to one address to contact the debtor to collect payment or take control of goods.
  • Communication by email of all significant actions.

Significant actions:

  • On receipt of instruction and payment we email confirmation of receipt and your case reference number. We aim to respond within 2 hours on an office business day.
  • When we have completed the N239a we email a copy for you to check and sign. We aim to complete this within 24 hours of your confirmation email.
  • The signed N239a is sent to the court and we email you confirmation of this. The court will return the Writ within 14 and 28 days depending on how busy the court is.
  • When the Writ has been received and we have issued the Notice of Enforcement we email confirmation of this. The first visit to the debtor will be within 40 days of this.
  • After each visit we email with the Bailiff’s report.
  • After any communication from the court or important developments with the case we email an update.

Fee to instruct = £156

This is the compliance stage fee of £90 (£75 + vat), and the court transfer fee of £66.

When enforcement is successful the cost to you (the claimant) is free as the costs are collected from the debtor and the fee paid returned to you.

Premier Service

Our Premier service is suitable for:

  • Individuals and businesses that prefer telephone support with a named client manager.
  • Individuals and businesses that require telephone support with the recovery process.
  • Individuals and businesses that have a difficult or complex case.

The Premier service includes additional benefits:

  • Updates by telephone with the Operations Team. (Set up so we can give you information over the telephone securely).
  • A dedicated client manager.
  • 2 free traces.
  • Up to three visits across 2 different addresses.
  • 20% discount on our fees for any court applications that you may want us to make (such as a break-in order, known as “A Warrant of Reasonable Force”), and additional traces.

Fee to instruct = £354

This is the Premier service fee £198 (£165 + vat), plus the compliance stage fee of £90 (£75 + vat) and the court transfer fee of £66.

When enforcement is successful the cost to you (the claimant) is the Premier service fee of £198 (£165 + vat) as the statutory fees of £156 are collected from the debtor and returned to you.

Instruct Quality Bailiffs

Transfer CCJ to High Court

What happens after I return the form ?

Please note the procedure below. There will be no visit made to the debtor for approximately 28 days so do not expect any update until then as there will be nothing to report for at least 28 days.

Once your form is received the following will happen:

  • One of the team check the details.
  • Your case is loaded onto our management system.
  • One of the team will help you to complete an N293A - court transfer up form.
  • They will email you a copy to check and sign.
  • The completed N239A and payment is posted to the court.
  • The court will do the transfer up to the High Court and return a Writ of Control to Quality Bailiffs. This takes approximately 14 days, but may be longer.
  • When returned we will issue a Notice of Enforcement which gives the debtor approximately 14 days to pay (including postage time).
  • If the debt is not paid the Writ of Control is passed to one of our local Certificated Enforcement Agents.
  • The Certificated Enforcement Agent is part of an experienced national team able to enforce by taking control of the goods of the debtor.
  • The team will aim to recover your debt, interest on the debt, and all court costs and the statutory enforcement fees which are added to the debt when enforcement is successful. The Premier service fee is not recoverable from the debtor.
  • You will be kept informed as actions are taken by one of the team.

Can A High Court Enforcement Officer Force an Entry?

Commercial Property

  • A High Court Enforcement Officer can use force to enter commercial premises.

Residential Property

  • A High Court Enforcement Officer cannot normally use force to gain entry to a residential or mixed use property.
  • They can however if they have previously gained entry peaceably and have a valid Controlled Goods Agreement in place.

They can also apply to the court for a Warrant of Reasonable Force. This can be used if the debtor refuses to cooperate and has goods in the property worth taking into control to satisfy the debt.

Can you use a High Court Enforcement Officer to enforce your Judgment?

Options to enforce a County Court Judgment depends on the value of the judgment (including all costs).

up to £600Y 
£600 up to £5,000YY
above £5,000 Y

When enforcing a county court judgment in England and Wales if your judgment is below £600 including all costs then you MUST use the County Courts own bailiffs.

If it is between £600 and £5,000 you have a choice.

  • Use the County Court Bailiff via money claim online or the issuing court.
  • Have the case transferred up from the County Court where you obtained the Judgment to the High Court for enforcement.

If it is £5,000 and above you must use the High Court for enforcement.

High Court Enforcement how it works

Quality Bailiffs Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) is Frank Whitworth. Our second HCEO is Kate Fellows.

HCEOs are the only people that can execute Writs of Control. They are very experienced and qualified people who have a level 4 diploma in High Court Enforcement. They serve a suitable apprenticeship demonstrating their skills before being able to apply to be authorised by the Lord Chancellor.

There are currently about 46 Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer in England and Wales.

HCEOs sit between members of the public and the Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) that they employ or authorise and ensure the conduct of the file through the process set out by law to enforcement or another conclusion.

They delegate their powers to Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) who can then execute writs of control under the authority of the HCEO.

A HCEO can deal with non-regulated debts such as utility arrears, business debts, tribunal awards or old rent arrears.

A High Court Enforcement Officer is not able to enforce debts that are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act. These debts include credit cards, overdrafts, payday loans or personal loans.

What is the difference between a bailiff and a High Court Enforcement Officer?

County Court Bailiffs

They are Civil Servants who work directly as employees of the Ministry of Justice. They are based at a local county court and report via a manager to the district judge.

  • They do not need to be certificated.
  • They are salaried and do not receive any bonus if they collect any money.
  • They can only execute for debt amounts up to £5000.
  • Their average time to report back is around 60 days.
  • To instruct them costs between £77 and £110 depending on how you instruct them.
  • They operate business hours Monday to Friday only.

High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO)

The High Court Enforcement Officer may delegate their powers to Private Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) to undertake the enforcement.

  • They are Certificated.
    To be Certificated the person needs to be trained and gain a qualification, undergo continuous professional development (CPD), DBS checked, checked for CCJ, checked for insolvency, interviewed, and authorised by a judge. This process is called Certification and must be repeated every two years.
  • They are incentivised to collect money.
    They work for private companies that are either owned by or authorised by a HCEO. Some of the Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) are self-employed and some are directly employed. They will always be incentivised by the amount they collect and therefore are invested in the recovery of your debt. If they don’t collect money, they earn nothing.
  • They can collect any amount above £600.
  • Average time to collect money or report back a conclusion is 40 days from gaining the writ.
  • Costs £156 to instruct.
  • They work seven days a week between 6am and 9pm.

Further information can be found in this article about Using a Bailiff.

Powers of a High Court Enforcement Officer

A High Court Enforcement Officer has many powers at their disposal to persuade a debtor to pay or a trespasser to leave your property. For a more detailed understanding of their powers see the video below.

Fees a High Court Enforcement Officer can charge

When enforcement is successful the cost to the claimant is free as the costs are collected from the debtor.

If the debt is not collectable you will have to pay the compliance stage fee (case file set up) of £75 plus vat (£90), and the court transfer fee, currently £66.

The Debtor/ Defendant is charged fees laid down by the MOJ in The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 Table 2.

Fee StageFixed FeePercentage Fee *
Compliance stage£750%
First enforcement stage£1907.5%
Second enforcement stage£4950%
Sale or disposal stage£5257.5%

* Percentage fee (regulation 7): percentage of sum to be recovered exceeding £1,000

Instruct Quality Bailiffs

Transfer CCJ to High Court

Can a High Court Enforcement Officer enforce my possession order?

Yes if the order is in the High Court, or if it is a County Court order that has been given written permission to transfer up to the High Court.

See our video guide.