Using a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer for the first time


Do you need a Bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer?

Using a Bailiff

Most people never have dealings with a High Court Enforcement Officer, a Bailiff, or an Enforcement Agent, as we are now called. Consequently, when they need to reclaim money or reclaim property, they are not sure which type of bailiff to use or how to instruct one.

There are usually three main reasons that you may want to use a bailiff:

Enforcement Agents Briefing

Types of Bailiff

There are currently three types of bailiff that deal with these types of cases in England & Wales.

Certificated Enforcement Agents

High Court Enforcement Agent

Certificated Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs) are appointed by the court but do not work directly for the court.

They were formally known as Certificated Bailiffs and are the most common type of bailiff.

They are often featured on the television programs such as the BBC’s Sheriffs are Coming.

They work for members of the public via the Private Enforcement Agencies, High Court Enforcement Officers and Local Authorities.

  • For the private sector including business, members of the public & the legal sector they collect judgments, evict tenants and travellers for landlords, work for commercial landlords collecting rent arrears, evicting commercial tenants and removing trespassers and squatters from land.
  • For local authorities they collect monies for Council Tax, Business Rates, Parking Penalties.
  • For government departments such as the Magistrate Courts they collect fines and make arrests.

When you have a court judgment for over £600 or possession claim Certificated Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) can execute writs of control and possession. This can only happen if they are authorised by a High Court Enforcement Officer. The main ones have a Director that sits on the board of Directors. Here at Quality Bailiffs we have two Authorised Officers listed with the High Court Officers Association.

Some of the other Enforcement Agencies have an arrangement for remote supervision with a High Court Enforcement Officer.

High Court Enforcement Officers
Formerly known as Sheriffs or Sheriffs Officers

The Sheriffs are Coming

At the time of writing there are currently 46 High Court Enforcement Officers in England and Wales.

When enforcing a County Court Judgment in England and Wales if the judgment is below £600 inclusive of costs then you MUST use the County Court’s own bailiffs.

If the judgment is above £600 you can have your case transferred up from the County Court where you got your Judgment to the High Court for enforcement.

This process is called transferring and the law says that the execution of the writ (warrant) must be completed by a qualified and Certificated Enforcement Agent (formally Bailiff) who is under the supervision of a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

High Court Enforcement Officers are very experienced and well qualified individuals who are authorised by the Lord Chancellor to execute judgments and transfer cases up to the High Court. They sit between members of the public and the bailiffs that they employ or contract to.

Their duty is to be even handed between debtor and creditor and simply enforce the Writ according to the law. That way they ensure the conduct of the file through to enforcement or another conclusion.

County Court Bailiffs

County Court Bailiffs are salaried civil servants that work for the Ministry of Justice, with a couple usually assigned to each local County Court.

They undertake:

  • mortgage company repossessions
  • landlord repossessions
  • warrants of delivery for finance companies getting cars back
  • small claims warrants under £600

Quality Enforcement - Quality Bailiffs High Court Enforcement Officers

Professional Certificated Enforcement Agents should be members of a recognised trade association and carry both professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.

The three main trade associations are:

Some bailiffs are members of more than one association.

Some bailiffs are also investigators and members of the Association of British Investigators, ABI

Unless you are a commercial landlord or have problems with trespassers on land you cannot instruct a bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer without first of all gaining a court order or judgment.

If you require a recommendation to a specialist solicitor that can gain this for you then please contact us and ask for details of solicitor from our panel of approved solicitors.

What does it cost to hire or instruct a bailiff?

The answer to this all depends on what you want them to do.

For collecting money and if they are successful then usually free.

For instance, if you want a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer to collect a judgment there is currently a statutory fee of £156 fee that is added to the debt.

This cost is broken down as follows: £66 is a court fees to get the writ and £75 plus vat is for the administration setting up the file.

If the bailiff is successful, they can then add their statutory fees set by law to the debt and collect it all so if they are successful it has cost you nothing.

If you want, a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer to evict someone from your house then less often less than £450 plus the court fees.

We can help

This article was written by Andy Coates MABI MCEAA of Quality Bailiffs.

Andy has a Level 4 diploma in High Court Enforcement, and over twenty five years of experience in the bailiff and investigation industry. He is the Honorary President of the CEAA, and a former governing council member of both CIVEA and ABI.

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