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Services of a High Court Enforcement Officer

If a creditor has a CCJ against you, they may be able to enforce it in the High Court by taking control of goods. ‘Taking control of goods’ means High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) visiting your home or business premises and encouraging you to pay. HCEOs are High Court bailiffs. If the HCEOs obtain entry, they may list your goods and demand you to sign a ‘controlled goods agreement’.

High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) are authorised by the Lord Chancellor and are responsible for enforcing Judgments made in the High Court and County Court (CCJs). They operate in England and Wales, and according to Taking Control of Goods Regulations, 2013 they have the right to seize assets or repossess the property. The order which allows HCEOs to act is known as a ‘writ of control’.

Shergroup provides effective and professional High Court Enforcement services throughout England and Wales. We have a team of experienced High Court Enforcement Officers who are dedicated to carrying out enforcement of High Court writs for our clients.

Powers a Writ of Control provides to a High Court Enforcement Officer

The High Court Writ of Control allows the claim to be enforced by the nominated High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO). Their firm will contact the debtor, and if necessary, an Enforcement Agent will pay a visit to recover payment or work out a payment plan. The method allows the Enforcement Agent to seize the defendant’s assets. The products will be withdrawn and auctioned if payment or an agreed-upon payment plan is not made or followed. In practice, removing items for auction is a rare occurrence.

The assets that can be taken into control are vehicles, equipment, jewellery, stock and other goods to the value of the judgment debt plus, interest (calculated at 8% per annum), court fees and enforcement costs.

What are the powers of a High Court Enforcement Officer?

High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) have powers like the following:

Rights of Entry & Control and Removal of Goods

The High Court Enforcement Officers can enter the debtor’s property when they are enforcing the High Court writ of control. This is a part of the enforcement procedure, and they have to go down this route to obtain payment in full. If no payment plan can be reached, the debtor’s property and assets can be seized (taken control of) by the High Court Enforcement Officer/Enforcement Agent.

The goods can be removed and sold at a public auction to meet the value of the judgment debt.

Often goods sold at auction are significantly below the market rate. Therefore, the HCEOs will keep this in mind when they take control of the goods. Even more reason for the debtor to pay in full or agree to a payment plan.

Residential – Peaceful admittance

Enforcement Officers cannot force entry to a residential property* without gaining peaceful admittance first. Once inside, the Enforcement Agent can return and force entry if necessary, such as if the defendant has not followed the conditions of the previous visit’s agreement.

* Also applies to a combined business and residential premises.

Business Premises – Forcible Entry

High Court Enforcement Agents are firm in carrying out their services, but they will always give the business occupier reasonable time and opportunity to allow peaceable entry by the Enforcement Agent.

If there is no living accommodation attached to the commercial premises, the High Court Enforcement Officer or Enforcement Agent might force entrance if necessary. The debtor is usually given advance notice of this action.

If a forced entrance occurs, the High Court enforcement agency will re-secure the premises to the same level as before.

What goods can High Court Enforcement Officers take?

According to the Tribunals Courts Enforcement Regulation, High Court Enforcement Officers are only allowed to seize goods that belong to the Defendant.

Enforcement Officers will not seize the following goods:

  • Essential goods for the basic domestic needs of the debtor and their family e.g., clothing, bedding, furniture and other items of equipment
  • Tools of the trade, any goods that the debtor uses as tools for their personal use in their trade or profession that have a maximum of up to £1,350), e.g., Tools, books, vehicles and other items of equipment
  • Third party goods, any goods belonging to someone other than the debtor commonly called “the Third Party”.
  • Goods that are on hire purchase agreements or are leased or on rental agreements. E.g., Vehicles.
  • Goods that have already been seized by any other High Court Enforcement Officer, Enforcement Agent or County Court Bailiff.


If you wish to enforce a County Court debt of £600 or more, against a debtor in the High Court by taking control of goods, an Employment Tribunal Award or any High Court writ, then call us today and we will process it for you.

Our High Court Enforcement Officers can take control of the goods and charge the debtor to sign a ‘controlled goods agreement’. However, if a debtor does not pay, the goods listed on the controlled goods agreement can be removed and sold.

You can contact us if you would like to discuss your judgment in detail, dedicated business solutions advisor will assist you every step of the way. Read this blog for a better understanding of the High Court Enforcement and the powers of the officers –

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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