High Court Enforcement Officer

How to use guide

You have been through the court process and gained a judgment and the debtor still won’t pay.

What can you do?

There are various enforcement options but the one most people opt for is to use a High Court Enforcement Officer.

In this article I will give you a detailed explanation of how to use a High Court Enforcement Officer to collect the money owed on your judgment.

What this article will explain to you

I will explain:

  • Why use the High Court enforcement officers instead of other bailiffs.
  • Give you details on the various types of bailiffs and their roles in the process.
  • Your enforcement options.
  • How much it will cost you.
  • The benefits of choosing an option that suits you.

Why use a High Court enforcement officer?

It is the age-old choice of either using the private sector or the public sector for a service.

Using a High Court Enforcement Officer and their private bailiffs (Enforcement Agents) is usually quick, cost effective and very easy. Statistics provided by the High Court Officers Association show that in the year 2018 that High Court Enforcement Officers successfully cleared 101,388 Writs of control and collected £113,930,811 for claimants. High Court Enforcement Officers Association. This has been increasing year on year as shown in the chart below.

Money collected by High Court Enforcement Officers

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

When the debt is above £600 but below £5000 you have a choice!

What are your Bailiff / Enforcement Agent options?

You can either: use the County Court Bailiff via money claim online or the issuing court or use a High Court Enforcement Officer.

The quickest most cost-effective alternative is to use a High Court Enforcement Officer.

This is done by having your case transferred up from the County Court where you obtained your Judgment to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement Officer and their private bailiffs (Enforcement Agents). Most High Court Enforcement Officers will assist or help you do that for free.

What is the difference between them all and my other enforcement options?

County Court Bailiff

They are Civil servants who work directly as employees of the Ministry of Justice. They are based at a local county court. There are usually 1 or 2 attached to each 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 £0 - £5000
  • Their average time to report back is around 60 days - at the time of writing this during the pandemic it is likely this will increase to 120 days They only ever do 3 visits to 1 address
  • To instruct them costs between £77 and £110 depending on how you instruct them
  • Their hours of work are generally 08.00 till early afternoon Monday to Friday

High Court Enforcement Officer and their private Enforcement Agents

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

There are about 46 High Court Enforcement Officers in England and Wales currently. A list is available from the High Court Enforcement Officers Association

High Court Enforcement Officers sit between members of the public and the Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) that they employ or authorise.

Some HCEO’s authorise other companies to act in their name but at our company we have an HCEO on our board of director who works in the business directly supervising our team.

High Court Enforcement Officers delegate their powers to the enforcement team’s Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) who can then execute writs of control under authority of the High Court Enforcement Officer.

Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) How do they work?

They are all Certificated by a court. To achieve this Enforcement Agents need to be trained to at least a level 2 grade in Taking Control of Goods and gain a qualification, undergo continuous professional development (CPD), be DBS checked, checked for CCJs, insolvency, interviewed and authorised by a judge. This process is called Certification and has to be repeated every two years.

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 recovery of your money as this is the private sector.

Average time taken to report back - to conclusion is around 30 days. However we provide staged reports from day 1 at each significant change in the case. We would aim to do the first visit to the debtor / defendant within 3 working days of receiving the writ.

Cost of using the High Court Enforcement Officer

If successful - Free as all fees whilst charged to you the claimant they are recoverable from the debtor where possible.

If uncollectable all you will have to pay is the compliance fee - £75 plus vat = £90

The only other fee you need to pay but again recoverable from the debtor is the Court transfer fee currently £66.

Fees charged to the debtor

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

Enforcement under a High Court Writ

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

Generally, the Certificated Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) only get their fees if they are able to collect your money for you. At that stage they can charge the scale of fees as per Taking Control of Fees Regulations 2014.

Hours of work

Between 06:00 and 21:00 any day of the week.

How many visits do they make?

We will normally make up to three visits at varying times to speak with the defendant at one address. Obviously if they are insolvent, have no goods or have gone away we will not keep going back. If we find a new address close by we will continue to visit there.

If we feel there is reasonable chance of recovery, we will visit the address more than three times. However there will come a time when we feel it is not economically viable to continue. Visits to multiple addresses will occur an extra fee of £75 plus vat per address.

Collection Rates

We have a good collection rate as our team are incentivised to collect.

Powers

We can break into a commercial property.

Extra Services

We can apply for warrant of reasonable force in some circumstances.

Amounts that can be enforced

From £600 to unlimited.

How to use and choose a High Court Enforcement Officer

I always advise you chose one that suits your particular needs as I don’t believe that a one size fits all mentality works in enforcement. This is because each case is individual and as such needs dealing with in different ways with different strategies. Consider the following when making your choice.

A) Is good customer service important to you?

Do you want to deal with a call centre or a few knowledgeable staff? The big HCEO companies have large call centres whereas smaller ones usually have a few knowledgeable key staff and offer a more personal service. We don’t have large call centres just a small friendly, knowledgeable team.

B) Is having the right supervision of your case important to you?

Whilst HCEO’s do not personally or very rarely knock doors these days I personally like the HCEO to be hands on. Therefore having an HCEO that sits on the board of directors is important as it shows better supervision.

C) Is having an HCEO company that has a long history important to you?

I personally like the people I use to have a long history, so I look for longevity and choose one that has been established a long time as I feel it determines experience. Frank G Whitworth our High Court Division was established in 1948.

D) Is having a company that has gained accreditations to prove its abilities important to you?

I like to see that a company has invested in Accreditations and training such as ISO 9001 which ensures quality, and safety accreditations which show safe working practice and training when they are conducting operations. Our company has ISO 9001, CHAS and Safe Contractor.

10 reasons to use Our Company to collect your CCJ

1) Three brands one company

the National Enforcement Group Ltd. Our roots can be traced back to 1948.

2) Free trace / verification

Once we get the writ back, we run the details through a licensed credit reference agency to verify the address, provide any additional address and give indications of vulnerability.

3) Enforcement is delivered by hand-picked local Enforcement Agents

As featured on the BBC’s 2020 series The “Sheriffs Are Coming”.

4) We have a very Experienced and Qualified Authorised HCEO

Frank Whitworth, supported by a small focused team; no call centre mentality.

5) Award winning customer service

from our account managers voted Best Property Enforcement Specialist of The Year 2019.

6) Automated emailed reports

usually with photograph of each address visited.

7) Free transfer up assistance

from County Court to High Court.

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.

Conclusion

Using a High Court Enforcement Officer and their team to collect your monetary judgment gives you the best chance of getting your money quickly.

Our High Court Enforcement Officer Frank Whitworth and our team has been picked to feature on the BBC’s The “Sheriffs Are Coming” 2020 series.

Sheriffs Are Coming

Watch our team in action in the new 2020 series. We aim to recover your debt, interest on the debt, all court costs and the fees of the Enforcement Agent which are added to the debt.

 

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