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There are many High Court Writs that you must have heard of, but the most commonly heard writ is a writ of control. But other writs are used for enforcement in different circumstances. As High Court Enforcement professionals the differences we come across for enforcement are |

  • Writ of control
  • Writ of delivery
  • Writ of possession
  • Writ of sequestration
  • Writ of restitution
  • Writ of assistance

Let us explain to you these writs one by one here |

Writ of Sequestration

If the debtor does not pay within the prescribed time, the judgment creditor may be able to demand payment through a writ of sequestration. The original order requiring payment of the judgment debt must notify the debtor that if the quantity specified in the order is not paid, writs of sequestration may be issued. This writ could be issued with permission of the court when granted by a judge on an application duly served and supported by evidence. The original order must be served personally and contain the penal notice.

Property is taken by the HCEO executing the writ during sequestration, and the property is then administered for the purpose of collecting rents or profits.

Writ of Control

The writ of control is the High Court’s version of a County Court warrant of execution. It authorises an HCEO to confiscate items belonging to a judgment debtor so that the judgment debt is satisfied, either by way of payment or sale.

Writ of Execution

A writ of execution is a court order granted to put in force a money judgment of possession order obtained by a claimant from a court. When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a High Court Enforcement Officer (formerly known in England and Wales as a Sheriff’s Officer) to take possession of property owned by a judgment debtor. Such property will often then be sold in a sale organised by the HCEO and the proceeds remunerated to the claimant in partial or full satisfaction of the judgment. A writ of execution may be used for bankruptcy proceedings and eviction claims.

English Common Law

Where the English common law has been exported through history then writs of execution are often part of the legal system of the justice system in that state and the effect is often the same – to enforce the court’s order.

Since the mid-1990 the Government of England and Wales has been re-engineering the landscape for enforcement service delivery. Strangely the word “Writ” has been retained in a world where Sheriff has been excluded as being “old English”. Writs can trace their birth back to before 1066 AD and have escaped reform.

Writ of Delivery

Companies, such as finance companies, frequently use the writ of delivery to collect certain goods that have not been fully paid for when the defendant is in arrears. When the claimant wishes to retrieve the items rather than collect payment for them, the writ of delivery is suitable. On multiple occasions, Shergroup has successfully used a writ of delivery to confiscate counterfeit items on behalf of the trademark owner.

Writ of Possession

The High Court issues a writ of possession once a judgment or order for possession of property or land has been issued. It can only be sent to the High Court for enforcement if the occupiers are judged trespassers or if the issuing County Court grants exceptional permission. Eviction of squatters or travellers from land or property is an example.

These are often combined with monetary orders permitting enforcement and the seizure of goods in the same manner as with a writ of control.

Writ of Restitution

Writs of Restitution are rare, but they can help a claimant who has regained possession after a Writ of Possession, only to have the property trespassed on again. This Writ “restores” the claimant’s status, allowing him to return and reclaim possession. The Writ is given to an HCEO who will act on behalf of the applicant.

Writ of assistance

This is frequently granted when executing a Writ of Delivery or Possession will be difficult or impossible. For instance, we’ve utilised a Writ of Assistance to force open a safe where we suspected documents (subject to a writ of delivery) were being kept. Another time, we used a writ of assistance to extract information from a computer database and give it to the claimant.


Claimants do not need to be concerned about the type of Writ in today’s enforcement market. The most suitable writ for their situation is provided to them by High Court Enforcement Officers. Shergroup is proud of its ability to continue to innovate in how Writs might be used to promote the creditor/desired claimant’s outcome. In its broadest sense, the Writ of Execution is a legal tool that solves the problem of enforcement in a variety of situations, and it has evolved as a society and the law has progressed. If you have a Writ from the High Court and you want to know your next step forward you can lean on Shergroup’s expert High Court Enforcement team for a solution. Call our business solutions advisors to know more.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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