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Are You Having Trouble Deciding Between a Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer?

If you can’t make up your mind if you need to enforce your CCJ through a bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer, this content is designed to help you make a decision.

We are here to clear away any confusion you may have regarding the services of both of these types of enforcement professionals when you need to enforce a judgment for the first time.  Indeed, for some of you reading this content it may be the one and only time you have to enforce a judgment, so we appreciate it’s a big decision to make.

To begin with, you should know as the creditor, the powers that bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers actually do have to help you enforce your judgment.  So, here’s our rundown of what we see as the major attributes of both.

So just who are bailiffs?

The term bailiff is used for an enforcement agent who can enforce payment of your judgment on your behalf.  Please note that bailiffs are not the same as debt collectors. Bailiffs have statutory powers to enforce payment, under the law and can remove goods if your debtor is unwilling or unable to pay you.

They can carry out the following types of enforcement action |

  • Enforce a money debt or fine for a creditor
  • Repossess goods under hire purchase or a conditional sale agreement to enforce an injunction for a creditor
  • Carry out an eviction for a landlord or landowner

Bailiffs (aka Enforcement Agents) have to be licensed by a County Court District Judge.  Their license is registered on a central register, and they have to continue to apply to be licensed year on year.

Bailiffs or enforcement agents have the authority to seize the property or sell the belongings of a judgment debtor, with the proceeds going to the judgment creditor.  Throughout this content, you will see we use the word “judgment” in front of creditors or debtors.  This is quite deliberate in the context of enforcing money judgments.  You have to have entered a judgment or received an order for the payment of money in your favour from a Court or Tribunal to then be able to access the enforcement process.

Bailiffs are eligible to visit the address of a judgment debtor if they do not pay the debts.  Generally, in the context of “Call The Bailiffs” the judgments enforced in the TV show are County Court Judgments where a creditor has used Money Claims Online or the County Court system to issue a claim and then reached the judgment stage in the claim process.  There are other types of debts that can be enforced such as Council Tax bills, parking fines, and court fines but these are not shown in the TV show.

The theme running through all the cases show in the TV show is that the judgment creditor has got to the point of having a judgment but can’t get the debtor to pay.  That’s when it’s time to call in Shergroup and use its process and enforcement agents to compel payment by attending at the debtor’s home or business.

enforcement agents

Different types of bailiffs/enforcement agents

Still, confused about the different types of bailiffs?  Well, here’s a rundown of the different types of enforcement agents |

#1 Certificated Enforcement Agents

These bailiffs are appointed by the court, but they don’t work directly for the court. Earlier known as Certificated Bailiffs they are the most common type of bailiffs. Through Private Enforcement Agencies, High Court Enforcement Officers, and Local Authorities, they enforce a range of different types of instructions including High Court Writs of Control under the authority of an Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer, like Claire Sandbrook.

#2 High Court Enforcement Officers

When you watch our new TV show, “Call The Bailiffs”, you will see the amount of the judgment flash up along with the location of the judgment debtor.

All the judgments in the TV show are for over £600 as this is the minimum amount of a County Court Judgment that can be enforced.  That amount can be made up of the debt, costs and interest and it’s the amount in the box on the front of Court Form N30 which will often be the place we check to ensure the judgment is over the £600 threshold for transfer to our High Court Enforcement Officer, Claire Sandbrook.

If you have a judgment for less than £600, we can still help you manage the process of enforcing the judgment.  We offer a NO COLLECT NO FEE service for these judgments and you can instruct us online at – give this a try as it’s a great alternative to using the court bailiffs and doesn’t cost anything to use the service.

If your judgment is over the £600 threshold then we offer a service to transfer your judgment for a ONE TIME FEE of just £156.00. This fee takes care of transferring the judgment to the High Court and getting an agent to the address of your judgment debtor.  This fee will be returned to you if we are able to recover the amount which is due.

Average Rate for Recovery

Our overall success rate for recovery averages around 90% of a judgment that is directed to the right address where the debtor has goods. 

As you can see in the TV show, we have plenty of successful outcomes.  That said not every judgment sent to us for enforcement has a positive outcome and the reason for this is that usually the address is not correct, or the debtor has no goods which can be taken into legal control.

#3 County Court Bailiffs

The parallel system of enforcement is in the County Court. County Court Bailiffs are paid civil servants employed by the Ministry of Justice; there are over 300 county court bailiffs working across the court system in England and Wales, but they are under pressure, and this has only been made worse by the COVID pandemic.

They are responsible for |

  • Mortgage company repossessions
  • Landlord repossessions
  • Warrants of delivery for finance companies getting cars back
  • Smaller county court judgments with Warrants of Control for under £600
  • The enforcement of regulated Consumer Credit Agreements

Do you need the services of a High Court Enforcement Officer or a Bailiff?

High Court Enforcement Officer or a Bailiff

There is no doubt you will need a bailiff of some sort to enforce your court judgment or order.

Enforcement is all about compelling compliance with the terms of the court’s decision.  So, a judgment may say the judgment debtor must pay the amount shown on the judgment.  You might have thought that the judgment debtor would do this automatically as the Court has made its decision, but in our experience whilst this does happen, there still needs to be a system to COMPEL people to obey thousands of judgments made each year.

So, if you are a newbie to this system, it can seem slightly unfair that you are pushed to do more to get your money back.  People often say this to us, and we understand that sentiment.  What we do is to make the system of enforcement as simple and straightforward as possible with a friendly experienced team to help you through the transfer process and get your judgment into the hands of people who want to help get you paid.

We think as you watch “Call The Bailiffs” you will see the determination of our High Court enforcement agents working under the authority of our High Court Enforcement Officer, Claire Sandbrook.  Shergroup’s Enforcement division is support by our fantastic office squad who support enforcement operations and ensure the smooth running of our solutions to our client community.

That said we also have a responsibility to the people we are enforcing against and again as you can see in the TV show, we meet all sorts of people, with their own story of how they ended up with a judgment against them.  There are checks and balances in the enforcement to protect judgment debtors from any behaviour which would be considered unfair if it were to be put in front of a judge.  All our visits to peoples’ houses are recorded on body cam footage so that we have a contemporaneous record of the action we have taken.  We will when required to do so put this before the Court so a judge can see the steps we’ve taken and check this against the Regulations we have to follow.

In the show itself we have also followed a clear process for seeking the consent of all the contributors and to follow COVID protocols as required by the Government.

So, here’s a way to make your enforcement decision

Check out the table below where we anticipate what sort of instruction you may have and where we offer our recommendation to you in terms of which enforcement agent to use |

A County Court Judgment Over £600County Court BailiffHigh Court Enforcement OfficerWe recommend using a High Court Enforcement OfficerUse our online service using this link
A County Court Judgment Under £600County Court BailiffUnfortunately, not availableWe recommend using Shergroup’s NO COLLECT NO FEE to collect this judgment before using County Court BailiffsUpload your CCJ to our website – no fee is payable unless we collect – use this link
An Employment Tribunal AwardCounty Court BailiffHigh Court Enforcement OfficerWe recommend using a High Court Enforcement OfficerUpload Your Award to our website using this link
A High Court Judgment for the Payment of Money or CostsCounty Court BailiffHigh Court Enforcement OfficerWe would only recommend a High Court Enforcement OfficerUpload Your Judgment or Order to our website – you can use this link
A Possession OrderCounty Court BailiffHigh Court Enforcement OfficerWe recommend using a High Court Enforcement OfficerSend your Order to [email protected] for a free review – please include a contact number
A Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery Instruction [offline until March 2022 due to Government RegulationsHigh Court Enforcement Agents on Shergroup’s National PanelWe can organise the enforcement of CRAR using our National Panel of Enforcement AgentsUpload your CRAR instruction to our website on this link


A little bit of Shergroup history

Shergroup launched the first main transfer service for all its own clients and then for the Sheriffs nationally back in 1998.  Raz and Sue who are featured in the TV show are part of the original team that started working with Claire Sandbrook to build this service across all 105 postcodes of England and Wales.

Today we see Shergroup’s service as a hub for judgments in the UK and further afield.  We tackle everything – from judgments out of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and judgments from Europe and in fact from around the world.  We turn all these judgments into enforceable instruments called Writs of Control and that’s what you can see us using on the TV show.

Shergroup history

The Framework and Process

The framework for transferring a CCJ to Shergroup and then enforcing it is set out in legislation so you can rest assured that we carry out our process in accordance with the law.

We arrange for the necessary certificate to be obtained from the county court to confirm that your judgment is still outstanding, and this also confirms the outstanding amount that can be transferred to the High Court.

Once we have this certificate returned back from the County Court – which can be as little as 3 days – but can stretch to 28 days for some outlying courts, then apply to the High Court in London for a Writ of Control.  This is addressed to Claire Sandbrook and commands her to enforce payment by attending at the address for the judgment debtor which we add to the Writ.

The address must come within the definition of “Relevant Premises” which include the judgment debtor’s home or business address.  We can accept more than one address, but we will ask you to confirm if it is still “relevant”.  Suffice to say we can’t attend at random addresses in the hopes of finding goods belonging to the debtor at that address.

When you decide to transfer to Shergroup you are choosing a team of enforcement professionals who have over 100 years of operational experience in doing this type of work.  And yes, it’s fair to say sometimes the job makes us feel that old!

But we love what we do, and we love to see judgment creditors get their money back from the court system.  You can see in the TV show that Claire has picked a professional and tenacious team as her enforcement agent.  Their performance is managed to ensure compliance times with visits, reporting and their results.

Claire herself is authorised by the Lord Chancellor, through his “delegated person” which is Senior Master Fontaine, who is the Queen’s Remembrancer and Master of the Queen’s Bench Division.

Claire’s role is to balance the competing interests of both parties and to enforce the Writ in accordance with the law.  As you can see in the TV show, we come across some challenging situations with judgments debtors who refuse to engage in the Court process and who refuse to pay the amount that is due until the ultimate sanction of removal goods is put to them. Claire and the entire Shergroup team want you to see us in action – and a TV show is one of the best ways to show what we can do.


Summing Up

We hope this article has given you more insight on how to make the best choice for the enforcement of your judgment.  Of course, we think Shergroup is the best option for you because this is our full-time job and as you can see in the TV show, we love what we do.

All the services we offer as High Court enforcement officers are set out at out on the dedicated “Call The Bailiffs” page at

Buy online, send us your paperwork for a free review to [email protected], or give us a call no-obligation advice on 0845 890 9200 and you can message us on all our social media channels.  One of our friendly team will get back to you with a solution to the problem you want to be solved.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you!

We are here to help you get your situation resolved.
Our contact channels are

By Phone | 0845 890 9200
Website | and you can chat to us from here
Email | [email protected]
Facebook | Check out Shergroup on this channel and message us
Twitter | Check out ShergroupChat on this channel and message us
LINKEDIN | Check out Shergroup’s LINKEDIN feed – and please FOLLOW us!
Instagram | Check out ShergroupChatter and follow us!

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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