On 12th September 2018 we held a webinar covering an introduction to High Court enforcement for businesses. Here are the answers to some of the questions asked.
What constitutes an obstruction?
An obstruction ranges from locking the building up, to threats with a weapon or physically hiding items away. Essentially it is the obstructing and preventing of an enforcement agent from enforcing the writ of control.
We would also consider wasting time and making the agent's job as difficult as possible an obstruction, however, we wouldn’t would report this. We would, however report cases that may escalate into violence and request further assistance from the local police to remove the source of threat.
Is it true that we are no longer allowed to check the registered keeper of a car due to GDPR in effect now?
No; if we are looking to take control of a vehicle on the defendant’s premises or associated with the defendant’s premises, we are permitted to make an enquiry at the DVLA under the current writ as to who the registered keeper of the vehicle is. This does not denote the owner of the vehicle however, but most of the time this information corresponds and does confirm the owner and registered keeper are the same person.
When information is requested by an enforcement officer, there is a legitimate purpose and therefore it is allowed. To access information from the DVLA there must be a legitimate purpose that will withstand scrutiny.
Will there ever be a way to stop companies racking up debt, dissolving then setting up a new company straight after?
There is nothing we can do relating to companies racking up debts and starting new companies, it is very common unfortunately. There may be a small window to get the writ of control in place for us to enforce it on your behalf.
If you have concerns about a company, you can lodge complaints against the directors with Companies House.
Does the claimant have to pay a fee if vehicles are seized for the towing of the vehicles?
No, under the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, the HCEO cannot recover the cost of removal of defendant’s goods, extending to vehicles. These regulations permit you to recover fees from the auctioneer’s out of pocket expenses including the removal of the vehicle. But if you must get a third-party contractor involved, then you will not be able to recover these fees. Quite frequently the vehicle will be removed as per instruction, but the cost of removal outweighs the value of the debt.
What happens with the payment of fees if a company has gone bankrupt?
This is referred to as SCP and it is the responsibility of the receiver to pay back fees. If we have taken control of goods and the receiver has requested that we return this back to them, then it falls with the receiver to pay the fee before the goods can be returned.
What is sealing?
This is the seal of the court, where documents, such as a writ of control, are sealed by the court.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance