HMCTS is setting up 12 warrant of control support centres across England and Wales. The aim of these new support centres will be to engage with debtors using the information supplied on the warrant application form. The centre will engage with debtors using either, telephone or SMS, with the aim of obtaining payment or setting up a payment plan.

The centre will make the debtor aware that there is a judgment that has been issued against them. The support centre will manage the warrant for approximately 12 days before the judgment is then handed over to a county court bailiff, who will start by sending a notice of enforcement.

Benefits of the support centres

The advisors, once in post, will also be able to signpost debtors to appropriate debt advice charities.

They will be looking for signs of vulnerability to be able to signpost and advise debtors appropriately.

Pitfalls

What if contact details on the form are incorrect and the debtor needs to be traced, this will not be within the remit of the support centre.

What if the debtor fails to engage with a phone call or an SMS? As an HCEO, we find that a debtor’s engagement when they receive a letter, or a phone call is not guaranteed.

What happens when payment plans that have been agreed, fail? The creditor will find themselves back to square one, not a particularly great place to be if you really need a debtor to make a payment.

Limited scope for communication with the centres for creditors

Communication with the warrant of control support centres for creditors is limited. All the while your case is with the support centre you can only communicate with them for the following reasons:

  1. Inform the centre of the intention to suspend a warrant
  2. Respond to a request from the centre for additional information
  3. Inform the centre how to proceed if the debtor is vulnerable

High Court enforcement

The alternative option is High Court Enforcement if the debt totals over £600. The transfer up of a county court judgment can be the most efficient and effective recovery of money owed to you, time will be saved as the notice of enforcement will be sent as soon as the writ is issued, and we will fully manage the case and keep you informed of the progress we make with the debtor at all times.

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance

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