In the case of the enforcement of higher value judgments and awards, significant assets can be collections of items such as artwork, sculpture, photographs, furniture, manuscripts and stamps.
These collections may be seized either for the non-payment of a judgment (over £600) using a writ of control, or for the return of specific property, such as a valuable piece of artwork loaned out but not returned, to the rightful owner using a writ of delivery.
Once the formal seizure is completed, it becomes a criminal offence to interfere, move or dispose of the goods without permission. Doing so can lead to a prison term of up to 51 weeks, a fine of up to £2,500, or both.
This “protective seizure” is often all that is needed to secure the goods while negotiations for payment take place. If these fail, then the goods are likely to be sold at auction.
These High Court writs are very powerful tools when it comes to recovering money or specific goods. And all they cost is a £66 court fee.