Shergroup backs shake up of court processes

Shergroup backs shake up of court processes

Shergroup backs shake up of court processes

Judgment debts are being written off by disillusioned creditors at a higher rate than ever before, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), because the existing enforcement methods are not robust enough to pursue through the courts.

The comment, from leading High Court Enforcement Agency Shergroup, comes in the wake of recently published HMCS statistics that show that applications to enforce judgment debts through the County Court have fallen significantly in recent years.

For example, the number of Warrants of Execution have more than halved in two years, applications to the courts for Attachment of Earnings Orders have fallen by a quarter in the last year alone, whilst the number of Charging Orders has fallen to about two thirds of the rate in 2008.

This dramatic fall has occurred despite the nation’s level of debt rocketing to more than £900 billion.

To address the performance of the courts and the mounting reluctance of creditors to use the various enforcement methods available to them, the MoJ began a consultation in March 2011 entitled ‘Solving disputes in the county courts: creating a simpler, quicker and more proportionate system.’

The consultation, which sets out proposals to implement existing provisions aimed at reforming the civil justice system in the courts in England and Wales is long overdue according to Claire Sandbrook, CEO of Shergroup: “In the current situation where the debt mountain is growing every minute of every day, yet the number of cases in which enforcement of judgments through the courts is falling, the clear conclusion must be that the processes by which companies, councils and other organisations collect what is rightfully owed to them through the courts are not working and need to be made simpler and more effective,” she says.

“The present system of court based enforcement is essentially flawed and is failing both creditors and in many circumstances debtors. Unless this is remedied, the current enforcement procedures in the UK will effectively become defunct, more businesses will go under and the growing debt burden will continue to swell.”