Under Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, intentionally obstructing an enforcement agent enforcing a High Court writ is a criminal offence, as is intentionally interfering with controlled goods without lawful excuse.
In 2014 one of our enforcement agents lodged a complaint with the local police force against a defendant for obstruction during the enforcement of the writ. At the time the police officers who attended were unable to proceed with a prosecution, as they hadn’t been briefed on the offence and didn’t have a court code.
One of the police officers was particularly diligent and, when presented with a similar case some months later, enquired further and found the correct court code. It wasn’t on their custody system, but they got it added and were able to charge the suspect in the latter case with assault, as well as obstructing an enforcement agent.
The penalties for either intentionally obstructing an enforcement agent enforcing a High Court writ or intentionally interfering with controlled goods without lawful excuse are:
- Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks
- A fine not exceeding level 4 (currently up to £2,500) on the standard scale
- Or both
This officer has sent us the court codes, which he believes are generic across the country, so that they can be given to police officers called to support an enforcement agent in the case of obstruction and assault.
Whilst this may be of greater use to enforcement agents on the ground, lawyers and claimants may also wish to make a note, so that enforcement action is able to proceed without delay.
The court codes are:
- Criminal Justice System (CJS) code - TC07001
- PNC / ACPO offence code - 18.104.22.168
David is the former CEO of The Sheriffs Office.