How do I get a judgment?
You can either appoint a solicitor to manage your claim, or you can use the Government's serivce Money Claim Online. Money Claim Online can be used for money claims up to £100,000. Please view our video for more information.
How do I enforce a judgment?
As long as your judgment is for £600 or above, you can transfer it to the High Court for enforcement by The Sheriffs Office. Please view our video to find out more.
I am owed money but haven’t got judgment yet, what do I do?
Why should I use High Court Enforcement Officers instead of County Court Bailiffs?
Simple. Our success rate is far, far higher. County Court Bailiffs are salaried civil servants whereas we are paid on results. It is also cheaper to obtain a writ of control (known as a writ of fieri facias or fi fa prior to 6th April 2014) than the Warrant of Execution needed by the County Court Bailiffs. Furthermore County Court Bailiffs cannot enforce Judgments or Orders over £5,000. Read more about this in our article.
I already have a judgment or order over £600 (including costs), what should I do?
What additional information on the defendant do you need from me?
The more information you can provide the better the chances of successful enforcement. If you can, provide details of the following:- what the debt relates to, any additional addresses, phone numbers, places of work, vehicle details, asset details and any other information that may assist enforcement. Read more about this in our article.
My judgment or order is fairly old, can I still use the High Court for enforcement?
We can enforce Judgments or Orders up to 6 years of age. Read more about this in our article.
How much does it cost to get a writ?
Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) charges £66.00 for a writ of possession or writ of control (known as a writ of fieri facias or fi fa prior to 6th April 2014)
Does my County Court Judgment (CCJ) or Order become a High Court Judgment?
No, it remains a County Court Judgment and is only passed to the High Court for the purposes of enforcement. Any representations by either party would still be made to the issuing county court. Read more about this in our article.
Can you force entry into commercial premises?
Yes, but we would request your instructions to do so first. Read more about this in our article.
How long does it take to ‘transfer up’ my judgment or order to the High Court for enforcement?
This depends on the speediness of the issuing County Court. It is normally 5 to 28 days. You can speed up the process by personally attending the issuing Court and having part 2 of the Form N293A sealed. Once we have received the sealed Form N293A from the court we will arrange for the Writ to be sealed by the High Court (or district registry) within 24 hours. Read more about this in our article.
Is it likely that goods will be removed from the defendant?
No. Usually the attendance of an Enforcement Agent and the threat of removal will result in payment. Less than 1% of all cases end in removal.
Once you have collected the monies due, how long will it be before I receive them?
We legally have to hold the funds for 14 days. Payment will be issued after this period. Read more about this in our article.
Can you remove goods owned by other people?
No. However, if they are part of the seizure and ownership has been claimed but not been proved then we would request that you either admit or deny the claim. Read more about this in our article.
If the goods removed are sold and they do not cover the full balance, what happens next?
Our Enforcement Agents would advise if there may be further assets. If there is, then they would return to remove these also. If not, we would request your further information on any further assets you may be aware of. Read more about this in our article.
If goods are removed where will they be sold?
In the unlikely event that goods are removed they will be sold by public auction. This may be a physical auction or an online auction. Very occasionally we can sell goods by private treaty but would need the authority of either the Court or the defendant. Read more about this in our article.
If you remove goods and sell them what happens to any surplus funds?
After payment of the judgment, interest, costs, fees and charges have been settled any surplus would be repaid to the defendant. Read more about this in our article.
If the defendant has moved from the address I gave you what should I do?
What if I do a deal with the defendant outside the enforcement process, who pays your fees?
You will be liable for our full fees should this be the case. We would ask that once the enforcement process has started you allow us to continue until such time as the debt is repaid in full.
If the defendant makes an application to set judgment aside can you continue enforcement?
Yes, but we would usually request your permission first.
Where are you based and what areas do you cover?
We have offices in Croydon and Northampton. We provide a nationwide enforcement service, covering all of England and Wales.
This video provides more information on the services we offer:
How quickly will an enforcement agent attend the address as directed?
Once the notice period has passed, we aim to have an enforcement agent in attendance as soon as possible, usually within a few days.
What is CRAR?
CRAR - Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery - replaces the Common Law remedy of distress or distraint on 6th April 2014.
There will have to be a written lease in place to use CRAR. It must be possible to calculate the rent due with certainty and it must be for a minimum amount.
Unlike under distraint, only Certificated Enforcement Agents (previously known as certificated bailiffs) are permitted to seize goods, not the landlord. This video provides more information:
What is the BBC One programme "The Sheriffs Are Coming" about?
The programme follows a team of enforcement officers from The Sheriffs Office as they enforce judgments and employment tribunal awards.
Do I need to send a Letter Before Action?
Yes, when you send the Letter Before Action, you are advising your debtor that your next step is to seek legal redress through the courts, without further notice, unless the matter is satisfactorily resolved within the next 14 days.
How much does it cost to get a judgment?
The court fees are set according to the value of the claim. You can check the current fee scales on Form EX50.
How do I use Money Claim Online?
You will need to register on the Government Gateway, then you can start your claim. It is quite straightforward, but if you prefer we can process your claim via Money Claim Online for a small fee.
Who are HMCTS?
HMCTS stands for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. Payments for court fees are made to HMCTS.
What happens if the defendant disputes my claim?
If the claim is disputed, the case will be heard by a judge who will make a ruling on whether the claim is dismissed or judgment is awarded. If the defendant does not submit a defence at all, you will be awarded "judgment by default".
Are you a Government agency or a private business?
We are a private limited company authorised by the Ministry of Justice.
Who are your authorised officers?
Are you a member of any industry associations?
Yes, we are members of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA). Two or our authorised officers, Peter Watt and Chris Badger, are board directors of the HCEOA.
Do you collect Council Tax arrears or parking fines?
No, we specialise in the enforcement of judgments for private individuals, businesses of all sizes, landlords, as well as solicitors acting on behalf of those clients.
Do you provide process serving?
Yes we do. Please contact us on 0333 001 5100 for further details.
Can you enforce judgments in Scotland?
No, Scotland has a different system. However, if the defendant is based in England or Wales, we can enforce a Scottish judgment.
Can you enforce judgments awarded in other countries?
If the defendant is based in England or Wales, then the judgment can be enforced by us. You can read more here.
How can I apply to work for you?
Please use our careers contact form.
Who do I contact with a media enquiry?
Do you work with the Police?
Yes, where we consider there is a risk of there being a breach of the peace, we will ask for Police assistance. In the case of evictions and repossessions, these are normally planned with the Police and executed with their attendance.
We have a large volume of unpaid judgments - can you help?
Yes, we have a service called Simplicity which is designed for organisations with large numbers of judgments. Please contact us on 0333 001 5100 to find out more.
How do I remove squatters from residential premises?
Squatting in residential premises is now a criminal act. You should call the Police who will attend to arrest and remove them.
Do you carry out risk assessments?
Yes, this enables us to plan the size of the team and Police support required, any specialists and equipment that may be needed, as well as identify potential risks so we can take preemptive action, for example to prevent access by squatters to the roof.
How do I remove squatters from commercial premises?
They will need to be removed under a writ of possession.
How do I remove squatters from land?
You can either use Common Law to remove them or obtain a writ of possession against "persons unknown". Government advice to local authorities is that they should take court action. Read more.
Can you remove protesters from a site?
Yes we can. Depending on what type of site it is, we will either evict from land under Common Law or a writ of possession. Evictions from commercial premises must be conducted under a writ of possession.
Are any other companies taking part in the programme?
No, all the agents in 'The Sheriffs Are Coming' on BBC One are from The Sheriffs Office.
Who are the officers taking part in the programme?
Several of our officers appear in the series - you can find out more in our Meet The Team section.
When is it next on TV?
Series 7 is broadcast at 11am on BBC 1 from 12th to 23rd March 2018, and each episode will be available on BBC iPlayer for seven days.
The summer primetime series dates for 2018 are yet to be confirmed by the BBC.
Why did you decide to take part?
In many cases High Court Enforcement is the most successful method of enforcing a judgment to obtain payment. But as not many members of the public are aware of High Court Enforcement, we agreed to take part in the programme to let people owed money know about this option and how it works.
Does my award have to be for a minimal value?
No, all employment tribunal awards and ACAS settlements can be enforced by The Sheriffs Office regardless of their value.
How much does it cost to get an employment tribunal award?
There are currently no fees charged by the Employment Tribunal to make a claim. If you choose to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to enforce it, there is a court fee of £66 for the writ. There is no compliance fee payable for the enforcement of employment tribunal awards.
Can I get reduced court fees?
Some claimants may be eligible for reduced fees if they meet the income criteria, which will be based on a combination of income and capital savings.
How much does it cost to enforce my award?
There is a £66 court fee, payable to HMCTS. If enforcement is successful, this is recovered from the defendant, along with the original award, interest and enforcement costs.
How do I instruct you to enforce my award?
How does it work?
The video provides an overview of enforcing your employment tribunal award or ACAS settlement by The Sheriffs Office:
How do I recover rent arrears from residential tenants?
You will need to obtain a County Court Judgment against them, which can then be enforced by The Sheriffs Office.
How do I recover rent arrears from commercial tenants who have a licence?
You will need to obtain a County Court Judgment for the arrears, which The Sheriffs Office can then enforce if payment is not made.
What can I do if my tenant has left owing rent?
If the tenant is no longer occupying the premises, you will need to obtain a County Court Judgment for the arrears and instruct The Sheriffs Office to enforce it if payment is not made. They will be able to seize assets belonging to the defendant at their new premises. You will need a CCJ for both commercial and residential tenants who have left the premises.
How do evictions work?
This video provides an introduction to evicting trespassers from your property:
How do I remove residential tenants from my property?
You will need to apply for an order for possession in the County Court local to the property. When you apply for the order, you can ask for permission to have it enforced by High Court Enforcement Officers under Section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984.
How do I remove commercial tenants from my property?
What is forfeiture of lease?
Forfeiture of lease is a Common Law remedy available to commercial landlords when the rent is overdue by a specified period, normally 21 days.
You can forfeit the lease simply by entering the property and changing the locks. Normally the landlord would instruct a certificated bailiff to do this on his behalf.
Are you Certificated Bailiffs?
The term Certificated Bailiff has been replaced with Certificated Enforcement Agent. This is a person who has been assessed by a judge to evaluate his ability to act as an enforcement agent. The certificate is valid for two years and is awarded to individuals.
So while The Sheriffs Office as an organisation is not certificated, our enforcement agents are Certificated Enforcement Agents, so you can instruct us to act under Common Law on your behalf.
Can I repossess my property and recover rent arrears at the same time?
Yes you can. If you are going via the Court (residential landlords must obtain a court order) to obtain an order for possession and a County Court Judgment for the arrears, you can apply for a combined writ of possession and control (known as a writ of fieri facias or fi-fa prior to 6th April 2014) to instruct The Sheriffs Office to execute both at the same time.
What is your policy regarding vulnerable debtors?
Please read our full policy on vulnerable debtors.
What will it cost me if the debt is unenforceable?
There is an industry regulated (High Court Enforcement Officers Association) compliance fee of £75 plus VAT which is triggered by each Notice of Enforcement that is sent.
What is the compliance fee?
What is the abortive fee?
Does a vehicle have to be immobilised before you can remove it?
Yes, the vehicle will be immobilised to secure it and the enforcement agent will serve a notice of immobilisation. If after two hours, the debtor has not paid either in full or entered into a payment arrangement, then the enforcement agent may remove the vehicle for sale.
At which point do you collect your lawful fees?
Our fees are incurred as the enforcement progresses through the various stages of enforcement. When part payment is recovered, the amount is shared pro-rate between The Sheriffs Office and the judgment creditor.
What is the notice of enforcement?
What is distraint for rent?
Distraint for rent - also known as distress - is no longer available and was replaced by CRAR - Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery - on 6th April 2014.
How much notice is given for when the goods are to be sold?
Once goods have been removed for sale, the judgment debtor will be given seven clear days' notice of sale.
Can you seize my commercial tenant's assets at other locations to pay rent arrears?
If you instruct us to enforce under a County Court Judgment, we can enforce at the debtor's place of business. If they have more than one location, we will serve notice of enforcement at the appropriate premises.
Under CRAR we may only seize assets on the rented premises.
How long does a writ last?
The writ lasts for 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement is served. If a payment arrangement is entered into by the debtor and then they break It, the writ will be valid for a further 12 months from that point. It can be renewed if required.
How do I recover rent arrears from commercial tenants who have a lease?
You can use CRAR - Commercial Rent Arrears recovery. You do not require a court judgment but you may only recover rent. The enforcement must be conducted by a certificated enforcement agent, for example The Sheriffs Office.
Or you can obtain a County Court Judgment and we can enforce it. The advantage is that the judgment can include other outstanding charges as well as rent.