The Shergroup High Court Enforcement Officer will come to an agreement with you about when payment is to be made. At the same time, the Shergroup High Court Enforcement Agent will identify a list (an inventory) of any of your goods that might be sold if the debt is not paid; this process is called “taking legal control”. There are two reasons why this is done:
- It allows you to retain and use the goods while you raise the money and, if you pay, you do not have to pay the Shergroup Enforcement Officer’s fees of taking the goods for sale, which can be more expensive; and
- It protects your creditor’s interest in the event you are unable to find the money, or all of it, to pay. The goods can still be taken and sold as necessary.
Whenever the Shergroup High Court Enforcement Agent takes goods into legal control a person is asked to sign a “Controlled Goods Agreement”.
This is your undertaking not to remove or dispose of any of the goods listed in the inventory until payment has been made in full. It is a serious offence to ignore your undertaking – it can lead to you being fined or imprisoned.
If you can only offer payment by instalments over a period of time, the Shergroup High Court Enforcement Agent will have to contact the creditor to ask if the terms you are offering are acceptable. You will normally be asked to pay an amount on account as a sign of your intention to pay. If the creditor does agree to your terms, you must pay on time, as agreed. Remember, an agreement to pay by instalments does not prevent a writ being escalated to the sale and disposal stage for fee purposes (see the Fees Regulation mentioned above) if you do not keep to the arrangement.
It is also worth noting that a creditor does not have to accept your offer, and indeed may be minded insisting that the Shergroup High Court Enforcement Agent attends to remove your goods for sale. In that situation you are advised to take independent legal advice as to your position, as the consequences of this can be serious. A list of providers of independent advice are set out at the end of this section.