On 13th June we held a webinar covering High Court enforcement for business, the webinar was well attended by solicitors and credit controllers and business owners, the following questions were asked

What are the most common reasons as to why people do not pay? How do enforcement agents work around these reasons?

Broadly speaking the non-payers fall into two categories, the can’t pays and the won’t pays.  If the situation is deemed that the debtor can’t pay it will be in the best interests of all concerned to come to a payment arrangement. This will mean that it might take a long time to recover the debt, but that you are more likely to receive the whole amount.

The won’t pays respond to enforcement, once we arrive at their place of work and the realisation of goods being seized becomes reality, this soon spurs them into action. We, in all instances will do our upmost to work on your behalf to recover all the money owed to you.

Where do the figures for late payment charges on invoices come from?

The figures you can charge for late commercial payments are outlined on the gov.uk website and can be viewed here https://www.gov.uk/late-commercial-payments-interest-debt-recovery/charging-interest-commercial-debt

As well as interest, you can claim a late payment fee, the details of what you are able to charge can be found here https://www.gov.uk/late-commercial-payments-interest-debt-recovery/claim-debt-recovery-costs

When is the best time to use an Attachment of Earnings order?

It’s best to use an Attachment of Earnings in instances where the debtor has little to no assets and ideally where previous attempts for enforcement have been unsuccessful. With an Attachment of Earnings order you always run the risk of only being paid a nominal amount, for this reason it should be the last resort.

When would you go to the High Court to enforce debt?

High Court enforcement can be used for debts that are £600 or higher and where you have a court order/tribunal/ACAS award that is less than 6 years old. The High Court route can be a lot quicker than the County Court, because the County Court can often have a backlog of cases and therefore you’ll have to wait until your case has reached the top of the pile.

High Court Enforcement Officers earn their fees from the judgment debtor, but only when they are able to recover, there is a statutory compliance fee of £75 plus VAT paid by the creditor. Other than the compliance fee, the HCEO receives no income for an unsuccessful enforcement.

Who would do a credit check?

A credit check should be undertaken by any business looking to complete work or deliver goods under a contract. If you do the work or supply the goods you will want to be paid for the work, therefore a credit check should be part of your credit control process. 

David Asker

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

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