The Sheriffs Office enforces Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) across England and Wales on behalf of local authorities.

What are CPOs?

CPOs are used by local authorities to acquire title to land in areas where various developments are due to take place. The person whose land is bought will be awarded compensation to cover the value of the property and land, the cost of buying another property and moving, as well as obtaining professional advice.

Serving notice

A CPO can be exercised either by serving a notice to treat or executing a general vesting declaration. A notice to treat is a formal request from a local authority to agree a price for a property, whereas a general vesting declaration is a formal procedure that gives a local authority the right to take over the ownership of property.

The Sheriffs Office process serves documents throughout England and Wales on behalf of local authorities, businesses, solicitors and individuals.


When the occupant refuses to leave the property, the local authority will need to take action to remove the occupants from the property.

There is no requirement for a further court action, as the CPO itself provides the authority for The Sheriffs Office to act.

The process is very similar to that of a writ of possession. However, it is worth noting that the CPO does not expire after execution. If the property is subsequently reoccupied, the CPO provides the authority for further enforcement action (unlike a writ of possession which expires after execution, when a writ of restitution is required if the property is reoccupied).