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Difference between HCEO and County Court Bailiff?

With two parallel systems to enforce a county court judgment using a Warrant of Control or a Writ of Control, there is naturally a lot of confusion about which route to go when it comes to enforcing your CCJ.

As High Court Enforcement Professionals through and through we have to say we think the High Court system of enforcement by taking goods into legal control trumps the County Court system.  You could say to us, “well you would say that” and in some ways of course we vote for a system we know and love.

High Court Enforcement Officer or County Court Bailiff?

Perhaps another question to ask is why we love it so much – and why it still gets our vote after many years of operational experience.

The answer, in a nutshell, is that it works – and we see so many good results and happy creditors and claimants in our operation.  These people didn’t stand a chance of getting their money from the county court bailiffs or from other enforcement agencies.  It was TEAM Shergroup that helped them and guided them on all their options to achieve the best result possible.

Now don’t get us wrong – not every judgment that is sent to us for enforcement is capable of being turned into cash.  You should know that from us.  If anyone tells you differently then that should ring an alarm bell.  Judgments are the debts that people didn’t want to pay and thought they could wriggle out of, so all sorts of excuses and reasons get put up to throw a creditor off track.

Some debtors of course have fallen on hard times and their excuses are real and to be honest, they stand out a mile.  A visit to the home of someone in financial difficulty is never easy – but their situation backed up by documentary evidence of being on benefits or not having any money in their bank account confirms they are “Can’t Pay” debtors, or worse “Can’t Cope”.  We are trained to spot and understand their story and to help where we can.  Their vulnerability eliminates them from our search for goods and leads the creditor to understand an offer is the best opportunity there is to recover the debt.

Who can best enforce your judgment?

That leaves us with the “Won’t Pay” debtors.  Judgments relating to people who think they shouldn’t have to pay your judgment should be transferred to the High Court where possible. It will soon become apparent to them that if they have goods which can be taken into legal control, those goods will be seized.  Discussions about the rights and wrongs of the judgment are for the Court, and they should apply to set aside the judgment if they feel aggrieved. Otherwise, their goods are going to be seized and ultimately sold unless they can come up with the full amount due under the Writ of Control, or they can make an offer to pay that satisfies you and your need for payment over a given period.

In making these statements we can tell you that over the years we have crafted a team of enforcement professionals who work out and about, and in our office, to achieve a joined-up process of enforcement.  You have to have good people on the street, and we have shone a light on those people in our TV project – “Call The Bailiffs | Time to Pay Up”.  In this show, we have shown you some cases where debtors have been real “Won’t Pay”.  But as you might expect, when they understand the authority of the Writ of Control, they realise that the law has caught up with them and it’s a question of paying the money or losing their goods.  They are no unfair tactics or aggressive stances taken by the agents involved.  There is no need.  Their authority and the authority of Shergroup’s Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer come as a result of the Writ being issued by the High Court.

These enforcement professionals can process any County Court Judgment over £600 in value unless it is a judgment based on a regulated Consumer Credit Agreement.  Rather unhelpfully in our view, these judgments have to stay with the county court bailiffs for enforcement.

The entire High Court Enforcement system is funded by the fees generated by the debtors themselves.  It comes at no cost to the public purse.  And as a result, Shergroup’s own team earn their living from the fees the debtors pay so of course there is a self-interest element in getting you your money.  That said, the fees that can be charged, are set by statute under the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 and only these fees can be charged to a debtor.

Wherever you are in England and Wales we have enforcement agents ready to attend on your behalf.  From the Scilly Isles to Berwick-on-Tweed and everything in between, Shergroup covers all 105 posts of the High Court.

Usually, judgment creditors come to us with a CCJ or a Tribunal Award which needs enforcing.  They are at a loss on what to do with the paperwork and need an easy-to-use solution.  Shergroup provides a product on its website to enable a creditor to upload their judgment paperwork as a scanned document and pay a ONE TIME FEE of £156 to transfer the judgment.

£66.00 of this fee is recoverable from the debtor if the debtor has the money to pay.  The transfer process can take anything from 3 working days to 28 working days depending on the county court used.  Some county courts are incredibly efficient – such as the Northampton Bulk Centre, whilst others never seem to escape a perpetual backlog.  Again, based on our experience, we can tell you where the delays are – although even if there is a delay, we still encourage transfer – because the county court concerned will be delayed all the way down the line including getting a bailiff to knock on the door.

Collection rate data for county court bailiffs is very difficult to pin down.  In Shergroup we always start with a 50/50 chance of getting your money back.  Some creditors have better odds, some less so.

If we can recover your judgment debt then we will be able to recover the judgment amount which is usually in the box on the front of the court form, together with interest at 8% and £66 towards recouping the cost of transferring your judgment to Shergroup.

If we are unable to recover the amount due to you, then we will prepare a full report with any other available options, and no further fee will be payable.  Whilst it may be “cold comfort” then at least you will know why you couldn’t recover your money and perhaps how to avoid that situation arising again in the future.  Whatever the outcome we are here to support you and talk you through any further options we think may help you.

Compared to our county court counterparts, Shergroup Enforcement professionals are just focused on getting you your money and ensuring it costs you little or nothing in fees.  County Court Bailiffs work on a different premise in our experience.  They are after all civil servants who are not geared to collect your judgment as they make nothing themselves out of the activity.  Win, lose or draw, they still receive their salary and the only fee you will pay is the fixed court fee.  They will recoup your judgment debt, your court costs, the Warrant of Control fee, and interest if allowed from your debtor. We think it fair to say they just don’t have the incentive to collect in the same way as their High Court counterpart.

If a county court bailiff can’t recover your judgment debt, you will receive a very vanilla report with a one-line reason as to why your judgment is unenforceable.  We think it fair to say the system is lacking in many areas and yet it is the one you must use if your judgment is under £600 in value or is based on a regulated consumer credit act agreement.  To us this seems very unfair, and we write about why the system should be changed.

Summing Up

We say Shergroup’s High Court Enforcement is a great way to enforce a CCJ but let’s weigh up the +’s and –‘s to give you a fair idea of what you are getting into

+’s for High Court Enforcement include |

  • A high collection rate of pence in the £ across all judgments but we always start at 50p in the pound to manage creditor expectations
  • A ONE TIME FEE to transfer your case to the High Court using Shergroup Legal
  • Enforcement Agents are incentivized by earning fees from successful collections, so they go the extra mile to get you paid
  • Reports are full of additional valuable information about your debtor

-‘s for High Court Enforcement include |

  • We have to wait for slow courts to transfer your CCJ and issue your Writ of Control although we manage this closely on your behalf
  • You can’t enforce a judgment under £600 in value or a CCJ based on a regulated consumer credit agreement – although we offer alternative enforcement options through Shergroup Legal

+’s for County Court Enforcement include |

  • A Warrant of Execution can be obtained more quickly
  • And you can enforce for under £600 and include judgments based on regulated agreement
  • The fee to issue in the County Court is lower than the combined High Court fee

-‘s for County Court Enforcement include |

  • Delays in getting bailiffs to attend and address even though Warrant is issued more quickly
  • No insight on collection rates so difficult to gauge likelihood of success
  • Formulaic approach of county court system lacks ingenuity in getting a positive outcome
  • Reports are vanilla and standard in approach with no real insight on your debtor’s situation

If you have an unpaid CCJ that you need to enforce then we have plenty of ways to help you get going.

You can use online channels to transfer it to us and speak to our friendly experts about your situation.  We are here to help you get your situation resolved.

And we have plenty of ways you can contact us!

You can reach us |
By Phone | 020 3588 4240
Website | and you can chat with 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
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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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