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Understanding the Impact of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Act 2007 on High Court Enforcement

Enforcement of judgments is a critical aspect of the legal system. Without a mechanism to ensure compliance, court orders and judgments can essentially become meaningless. In the UK, the enforcement of High Court judgments is overseen by a robust regulatory framework, central to which is Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Act 2007. This article aims to shed light on how Schedule 12 has fundamentally shaped the regulation and practice of High Court enforcement

Background 

Before delving into Schedule 12, it’s essential to understand the context. High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) are tasked with enforcing judgments and orders from the High Court. This includes recovering money owed under a judgment and ensuring the return of goods or property. 

Schedule 12  |  A Comprehensive Framework 

The Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Act 2007 enacted across the jurisdiction of England and Wales, brought a sea of changes to the way enforcement actions are carried out.  

Schedule 12, in particular, brought about a unified and streamlined approach to enforcement by establishing clear, codified procedures that HCEOs and enforcement agents must adhere to. 

Key Aspects and Impact of Schedule 12 

1. Clarity and Transparency  | 

Schedule 12 lays out clear procedures for enforcement actions. This has removed ambiguity, making the enforcement process more transparent and predictable. 

2. Protection of Vulnerable Debtors  | 

Schedule 12 introduced measures to protect vulnerable individuals, requiring enforcement agents to assess the debtor’s circumstances and refrain from taking undue advantage. 

3. Controlled Goods Agreements  | 

The schedule introduced the concept of ‘Controlled Goods Agreements,’ which allow enforcement agents to enter into a binding agreement with the debtor to give them time to pay without the immediate removal of goods. 

4. Training and Certification  | 

Schedule 12 mandates that enforcement agents undergo proper training and certification, ensuring that they have a thorough understanding of the laws and procedures governing enforcement actions. 

5. Fees and Costs  | 

Schedule 12 also introduced a transparent fee structure, ensuring that debtors are aware of the potential costs associated with enforcement actions and preventing exploitative practices. 

How Schedule 12 Forms the Backbone of Regulatory Framework 

By creating a standardized and detailed procedure for enforcement, Schedule 12 has formed the backbone of the regulatory framework governing High Court enforcement actions. It ensures that both creditors and debtors are treated fairly and that enforcement agents operate within a clearly defined legal context. 

1. Consistency Across Enforcement Actions  | 

Schedule 12 brings a uniform approach, ensuring that all enforcement actions are consistent, fair, and justifiable. 

2. Ensuring Accountability  | 

By defining the roles, responsibilities, and limits of HCEOs and enforcement agents, Schedule 12 ensures accountability in enforcement actions. 

3. Building Confidence  | 

The clarity and fairness introduced by Schedule 12 have served to build confidence in the enforcement system among both creditors and debtors. 

4. Adherence to Legal Standards  | 

By outlining the need for proper training and certification, Schedule 12 ensures that all enforcement actions comply with legal standards and best practices. 

Summing Up 

In essence, Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts, and Enforcement Act 2007 has revolutionized the High Court enforcement process, creating a structured, transparent, and accountable system.  

Secondary legislation including the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, and the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, along with the Certification of Enforcement Agents 2014, provide the mechanics for the implementation of Schedule 12 to the Primary Legislation.   

For organizations like Shergroup Enforcement who are carrying out the enforcement of High Court Writs everyday, then understanding and adhering to the provisions of Schedule 12 is all part of a continued evolution of the law which stretches back over 1000 years.   

It is fair to say the law of execution in England and Wales continues to be in a state of flux – to use a well worn term from law school – and the law will be challenged and developed in the years ahead.   

The outcomes from these moves forward will lead to a framework which is fit for purpose, filling the gaps where Parliamentary Counsel failed to appreciate the subtleties of enforcement.  What we working towards is a framework in which enforcement actions are balanced, fair and just for all stakeholders, thereby upholding the integrity of the legal system.


Ready for effective High Court enforcement? Contact Shergroup Enforcement today at [email protected] or visit www.shergroup.com to ensure your judgments are enforced with precision. Our experienced team navigates the intricacies of Schedule 12, providing clarity, transparency, and accountability in every enforcement action. Don’t let your court orders become meaningless—partner with Shergroup for a structured, transparent, and accountable system that upholds the integrity of the legal system.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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