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CASHFLOW | What Type of Bailiff Is Best – a County Court Bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer

In England and Wales, a creditor coming out of a court action with a judgment or CCJ has a choice on which sort of bailiff to use if they want to seize a debtor’s goods.

Interestingly in Scotland, there isn’t a dual system for types of bailiffs (just in case you were wondering!)

So, if you have come out of Money Claims Online, or a case that was heard in the county court, with a CCJ that needs to be enforced we want to help you make the best choice when it comes to enforcing that judgment turn it into cash. After all, this is the whole point of going to court and getting a judgment.

Bailiff or Sheriff?

If your debtor has “goods” which can be seized to give you leverage to get your CCJ paid then you have a choice on who you can instruct. By “leverage” we mean the debtor’s car or other goods they are needed in their day-to-day life or work, and which if taken away and sold would create a major inconvenience to the debtor’s home life or business.

County Court Bailiffs operate under the authority of a Warrant of Control that you can issue online as soon as you have entered judgment in the County Court. We don’t recommend this course of action for judgments with a value of £600 or more.

Sheriffs (or High Court Enforcement Officers as they are now known) can help you enforce a judgment over £600 in value*. In fact, judgments over £5,000 in a value MUST be enforced by High Court Enforcement Officers.

Judgments under £600 in Value

If your CCJ is under £600 in value, and you think the best way to enforce your judgment is by seizing the debtor’s goods, then your only option is to use the County Court Bailiff and issue a Warrant of Control.

If you are regularly issuing CCJs as part of your collection process, and they are coming out at under £600 you may like to think about adding additional reasonable costs to your debt amount to bring the judgment value to £600 or above. We can help guide you on the law in this area so if you would like more information contact us at [email protected].

Judgments over £600 in Value

If your judgment is over £600 in value, we are going to encourage you to transfer it to our system for enforcement using our High Court Enforcement Officers.

To get a judgment to an HCEO we make it easy for you by supplying a full transfer service so all we need is a copy of your judgment (usually on Form N30) and we can start the transfer process. You can scan a copy of your judgment straight into our website. We charge a one-off processing fee of £156.00 inclusive of VAT to manage the enforcement process from start to finish.

Our High Court Enforcement Officers are authorised by the Lord Chancellor to enforce judgment debts and other orders transferred to them by court users.

Their authority flows from the Writ of Control that is issued in their personal name.

If you really want to do the transfer yourself, then you will need to complete and sign Form N293A and get this sealed by the County Court where the judgment was entered. This form becomes the Certificate of Judgment and confirms the amount that is outstanding.

Bearing in mind the hassle to transfer a judgment (and we have lots of experience) we have designed our system so the task of applying for the Certificate is lifted off your desk and put firmly on ours. It can be a pain to chase the County Court for the certificate and we do all this as part of our one-off fee.

It normally takes us 1 to 2 weeks to get the paperwork in place from the County Court and then issue the High Court Writ of Control. You might be thinking that this is a delay to your enforcement, but even with this time built into our process, we are still much quicker than the County Court for getting a bailiff to the address of your debtor.

As soon as the Writ of Control is issued, we will serve a Notice of Enforcement on your judgment debtor. This is a statutory step, which also has to be taken in the County Court.

We like to serve this document by email wherever possible as we can add a “delivered” and “read” receipt to the email. This is useful if the judgment debtor says the Notice wasn’t received.

Once 7 clear days have passed from the time the Notice is served, a Certificated Enforcement Agent or bailiff, will visit your judgment debtor’s address – be it their residential address, or their place of business.

The bailiff will be looking to seize goods (which is termed as “taking legal control of goods”), to the value of your debt, plus interest and the fees of the High Court Enforcement Officer.

If successful, the bailiff will collect your judgment debt, your court costs, your one-off transfer, interest at 8% and the fees of the High Court Enforcement Officer. All of these amounts are collected from your judgment debtor!

The incentive for us to collect on your judgment is that we earn our fees only when we collect what you are owed. If we can’t collect, then your investment of £156.00 covers the High Court Enforcement Officer’s industry regulated compliance fee of £75 plus VAT. There is nothing else for you to pay.

As High Court enforcement experts we drive our process to collect for you on every judgment you send to us. When you get paid, we get our fees so it’s in our interests to do the absolute best we can for you.

Judgments Under £600 in Value and Regulated Agreement Judgments

In relation to both these areas, the law stubbornly refuses to allow judgment creditors to take advantage of the High Court system of enforcement. This means if your judgment falls under the High Court threshold or is as a result of a Regulated Consumer Credit Act agreement you will be stuck with the county court system of enforcement and that means county court bailiffs and a Warrant of Control.

It would be unfair to say that judgments sent to the county court bailiff service are never enforced, but we are High Court enforcement experts, and we know from our community that the service level is not the same as when a creditor is dealing with a High Court Writ of Control. You only have to read the reviews on our website, and on Google to see why people love our service.

Perhaps it’s because County Court Bailiffs are civil servants working for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, so they are not incentivized in the same way as High Court Enforcement Officers. Whatever the reason the feeling in the credit industry is that the system of enforcement in the County Court lacks any real drive.

But if you have to use this system you will need to issue a Warrant of Control which has a fee of £110 and which is easy to apply for BUT for larger sums, it is not in our professional opinion the best way forward for the enforcement of judgments involving the seizure of goods.

If you go down this route, a county court bailiff will endeavour to collect your judgment debt, court costs, the Warrant of Control fee, and interest (if prescribed) from your Judgment Debtor.

Summing Up

Of course, we love Sheriffs more than we love County Court Bailiffs – that’s why we named the company “SHERgroup”. But there are real reasons why we love the High Court system of enforcement over the county court system. So, to sum up, here are the reasons why we think you should use a High Court Enforcement Officer over a County Court Bailiff |

  • We collect on over 90% of enforceable judgments which are sent to us for enforcement

  • We will remove goods if necessary – we are not wishy-washy!

  • If we can’t collect on a judgment, we tell you why and we give you options on what to do next because we are a full-service enforcement provider

  • County Court Bailiffs are the only option for seizing goods when the judgment is under £600 in value or regulated under the Consumer Credit Act (don’t get our CEO started on that one as she has been arguing for a change in the law for over 20 years!)

  • Although it takes a few days longer to produce a Writ of Control, once the Writ is issued, you will receive first-class customer service on what is happening to your judgment from our super-friendly Business Solutions TEAM

  • You will pay a little extra for the High Court system – £156 as opposed to £110 but the higher cost reflects a better customer service and overall success rate

To find out how we can help you transfer your CCJ into our High Court system use on our contact points

PHONE | 0845 890 9200

EMAIL | [email protected]



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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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