How much does High Court Enforcement Cost? Answers for Creditors and Debtors

Updated: Apr 7


Depending on what side of the judgment you’re on, different fees will apply. Either way, the fees charged by High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs), sheriffs, bailiffs are regulated by The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 (2014 Regulations). These follow on from the way HCEOs operate under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 (2013 Regulations).

Since 2014 the fees charged by HCEOs are set out in the 4 stages of enforcement and writ of control which are:


The Four Stages of a Writ of Control:

  1. Compliance

  2. First Stage Enforcement

  3. Second Stage Enforcement

  4. Sale or Disposal Stage

What is a Writ? - Writ Definition

High Court Writ refers to a formal document that decrees a person to operate or to cease doing a specific action. Writs are drafted by judges, courts, or other entities who have judicial jurisdiction. These documents are part of common law and are usually issued after a judgment is given, giving the authorised agents and officers involved the power to implement the judgment. Writs are of many forms including summonses, writs of execution, writs of habeas corpus, warrants, and orders.


Types of Writs

There are different types of High Court writs, the most commonly used being the writ of control (previously called a writ of fieri facias), the writ of delivery and the writ of possession.


What is a Writ of Control?

A Writ of Control commands a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) or enforcement agents to take control and sell or auction the debtor's goods to receive the funds to settle a money judgment. A Writ of Control was earlier known as Writ of Fieri Facias (FiFa). Similarly in the County Court, the command to a County Court bailiff is called a warrant of control.


How do you get a writ of control?

First, the creditor will petition for a writ of control, which shows the HCEO to attend your property and arrange payment or take your goods. Creditors will get a notice of enforcement letter from the HCEO telling details. They have to give you at least seven days' notice before their first visit.


How to obtain a Writ of Control?

A creditor can obtain Writ of Control by following these steps

  • Get N293A Combined certificate of judgment and request for a writ of control or writ of possession plus Form No. 53 - Writ of Control form.

  • File and Fill up the form N293A Combined certificate of judgment and request for a writ of control or writ of possession and send to the court that issued your judgment.

  • The court will stamp the N293A form and return it to you.

Include the following documents:-

  • Completed Form No. 53 - Writ of Control

  • Court stamped N293A Form

  • The cheque for £66 made payable to ‘HMCTS’

Send this to:

Royal Courts of Justice

Enforcement Section

Strand

London

WC2A 2LL

Once the High Court returns your sealed No. 53 - Writ of Control then you can send the original sealed Writ to us for allocation of an enforcement officer.


When can a Writ of Control be issued?

A Writ of Control is known as Warrant of Execution, which can be issued by the County Court shortly after the Court’s Judgment or Order is made for recovery of money. It is used to enforce a judgement in the High Court than in County Court and these CCJ are transferred to High court for Enforcement.


How long is a Writ of Control valid for?

A writ of control is valid for 12 months also can be restored by the creditor. If a creditor wants to use a writ of control to enforce a CCJ or high court judgment, it will automatically be issued by the High Court except for six years or more have passed since the date of judgment.


How do you stop a writ of control?

Following steps can be followed to stop high Court Writ:

  • Apply to stay the writ and SET ASIDE the judgment

  • Apply to stay the writ and VARY the judgment

  • Pay the creditor direct

  • Check the transfer up to the High Court is compliant with regulation.

How long does a writ of control last?

A High Court Writ of Control lasts for 12 months from the date the Writ is issued. If further time is needed to continue the enforcement process, then this initial period can be extended through a short procedure. We can help you manage this process.


How much does it cost to get a Writ of Control?

We charge a one-off fee of £156.00 to our website users.


Facts about the Writ of Control

The writ of control was organised in April 2014, under the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 Part 3, 62 (4). It replaced the writ of fieri facias and, along with the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and Taking Control of Goods Regulations (Fees) 2014, brought in several changes:

  • There are now four stages of enforcement, each with regulated fees. These are compliance, enforcement stage 1, enforcement stage 2 and sale or disposal stage. Some disbursements, court fees, may be added

  • An enforcement agent may now enforce 365 days a year, between the hours of 06:00 and 21:00

  • The writ of control is now valid for 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement. It is likely to apply to the court to extend the writ. But, you may only do so once

  • On breaching of payment arrangement, the validity of the writ of control automatically extends to 12 months of the date of the breach.

Advantages of Enforcement by Writ of Control

Following are the advantages of enforcement by Writ of Control:

  • Forced entry into commercial bases with no previous warning

  • Gives the power to take control of and trade debtor's goods and assets to the value of the judgment debt.

Disadvantages of Enforcement by Writ of Control

Following are the disadvantages of enforcement by Writ of Control:

  • Not all types of goods can be controlled, this involves tools of the judgment debtor's trade, basic clothing, basic furniture, basic household goods

  • A creditor should be fairly certain that adequate assets will be available to control. Assets cover a debtor's car, caravan, motor-home, boat or garden equipment.

High Court Enforcement

High Court Enforcement Officers or HCEOs are authorized by the Lord Chancellor to enforce Writ of Execution which are issued in the High Court of England and Wales. The Writ of Control is the most common type of Writ and is issued to enforce payment of a money judgment. The Writ used to be known as a Writ of Fieri Facias, or Fi Fa.

There are many forms of Writ, which include:

Writs date back to the start of the English Common law and have some wonderful old Latin names - these include:

  • A Writ of Venditioni Exponas

  • A Writ of Ne Exeat Regno

Who Are High Court enforcement?

A High Court enforcement officer (HCEO) is an officer of the High Court of England and Wales responsible for enforcing judgments of the High Court, often by taking legal control of goods or recovering land and/or property. Prior to 2004, HCEOs were known as Sheriff's Officers and were responsible for enforcing High Court Writs on behalf of the High Sheriff for each bailiwick in England and Wales. Today High Court Enforcement Officers are personally responsible for the enforcement of Writs issued in their name. They take the place of the High Sheriff in terms of this responsibility. High Court Enforcement Officers operate in all 105 postcodes across England and Wales. They are a separate part of the UK legal system to the Sheriff's Officers appointed in Scotland.


How to become a High Court Enforcement Officer?

For details of the Educational Pathway to become a High Court Enforcement Agent please visit the website for the High Court Enforcement Officers Association at https://www.hceoa.org.uk/members/how-to-become-a-member. This sets out the full scale of the educational qualifications which are needed along with the practical training needed to become a High Court Enforcement Officer. If you are interested in pursuing a career in High Court Enforcement, Shergroup's CEO, Claire Sandbrook would be pleased to set up a call with you to discuss where you are in your journey to becoming an AHCEO and High Court Enforcement Agent. You can message her via our website at hub@shergroup.com.


How much commission does a High Court Enforcement Officer get?

Not always. High Court Enforcement Agents are employed or sub-contract their services to High Court Enforcement Officers in different types of the working environment. Some may be paid on commission, some on salary, some on a combination of both. The fees that are charged by the High Court Enforcement Officer are based on a commission basis of what is paid under the Writ of Control.


Who pays High Court Enforcement Officer?

The Judgment Debtor will usually pay the fees and disbursements of the High Court Enforcement Officer. These charges are added to the Writ of Control or Writ of Delivery. It is unusual for fees to be added to a Writ of Possession but occasionally the Court will combine a money judgment or costs order with a possession order. In such a situation the High Court Enforcement Officer is entitled to charge the allowable statutory fees to the Writ.


Who employs High Court Enforcement Officers?

High Court Enforcement Officers are appointed by the Lord Chancellor, through the recommendation of his "Delegated Person", who is the Senior Master of the Queen's Bench Division. High Court Enforcement Officers can be employed by a business that provides High Court Enforcement services. Often they are senior enforcement professionals who own and operate their own businesses.


What do High Court Enforcement Officers Earn?

High Court Enforcement Officers are entitled to charge the Judgment Debtor statutory fees as set out in the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. These Regulations set out the fees that a High Court Enforcement Officer may add to the amount of the judgment as part of the enforcement process. Where necessary the fees can be subject to a fee review by the High Court to ensure they are correct.


How to stop High Court Enforcement?

A| To stop a High Court Enforcement Officer enforcing a Writ against you or your business you will need to have an Order from the Court "staying" enforcement. An Order for a Stay of Execution will be obeyed by the High Court Enforcement Officer and any agent working in his or her name. But you need to act quickly and should apply immediately to the County Court or High Court for an application to stop the enforcement process.


What is a Notice of Enforcement?

A Notice of Enforcement is designed to give the Judgment Debtor an opportunity to pay the amount due under the Writ of Control before the Enforcement Agent attends the address.


High Court Enforcement Costs

For a Judgment Creditor, the cost of High Court Enforcement is limited to a fee for managing the issue of a Writ of Control, issuing the Writ, and the Compliance Fee which covers any abortive action when a money judgment is enforced.


Shergroup charges a single fee for this work of £156 inclusive of VAT. If the Judgment Debtor pays the full amount due under the Writ then this £156 investment by the Judgment Creditor is refunded back. All other charges which are allowed to be charged by the High Court Enforcement Officer are payable by the Judgment Debtor.


Enforcement of a CCJ: How much does it cost to Transfer Up a CCJ to a High Court Writ?

The CCJ to pass for transfer up to the High Court for enforcement through a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) or enforcement need to be £600 or above, including fees & costs, and less than 6 years old.


To enforce County Court Judgment (CCJ), it must be transferred to the High Court for enforcement. There is a court fee of £66 (recoverable for debtors) for the transfer up to receive the writ of control.


How do I transfer my judgment from the County Court to the High Court for Enforcement?

We make this super easy for all court users who want to transfer their judgment. Just click on this link to submit your case and upload a copy of your judgment. We will ask you to pay an all-inclusive, one-off set up fee of £156.00.


When I transfer a CCJ to the High Court does the CCJ become a High Court Judgment?

Just to clarify, a county court judgment remains just that, even if the enforcement process is transferred to the High Court. Don’t worry we are experts in this arena and we will help you every step of the way. Just upload your original CCJ paperwork for a free review.

High Court Writ of Control

A person or business can apply for a Writ of Control in the High Court, to enforce a judgment obtained against a debtor, to recover the unpaid monies owed to them. If payment of the debt is not obtained or a payment plan is not agreed upon, the High Court Writ of Control provides for the seizure, removal and trade of the debtor’s goods.


How to get High Court Enforcement?

This is easy! Just go to Shergroup's Cashflow Solutions for money judgments, or Property Solutions for possession orders and click on the service that suits you best! Whatever you need in High Court Enforcement, the Shergroupies have all the solutions!


How much do High Court Enforcement Agents earn?

According to the UK Government's UK Career Service, an Enforcement Agent (aka "bailiff") can earn between £18,000 to £40,000 per year.


How much does High Court Enforcement cost?

For a Judgment Creditor, the cost of High Court Enforcement is limited to a fee for managing the issue of a Writ of Control, issuing the Writ, and the Compliance Fee which covers any abortive action when a money judgment is enforced. Shergroup charges a single fee for this work of £156 inclusive of VAT. If the Judgment Debtor pays the full amount due under the Writ then this £156 investment by the Judgment Creditor is refunded back. All other charges which are allowed to be charged by the High Court Enforcement Officer are payable by the Judgment Debtor.


How much does a high court writ cost?

For creditors or judgment creditors, as they are officially known under a warrant of Control, high court writ of control, the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations charged are limited to the Compliance Stage fee of £75.00 plus VAT for each Enforcement Notice which is sent to the judgment debtor. If there is only one address where the judgment debtor is believed to have goods then it will just be one Compliance Stage fee.


If the HCEO or the judgment creditor finds more than one address, then a Notice of Enforcement will have to be served at each address. This, in turn, will attract a Compliance Stage fee for each address. So this means it's important to do the groundwork in finding the best address for enforcement as early as possible in the collection process. In addition to the Compliance Stage fee. The judgment creditor will have to pay the £66.00 court fee, small claim court fees, money claim online fees, county court claim to issue the writ of control fee unless they can prove a fee exemption (see https://www.gov.uk/court-fees-what-they-are).


The bottom line is that a judgment creditor can expect to invest £156.00 for any judgment they send to HCEO fees, bailiff fees & costs for enforcement. This sum will be recouped from the debtor if the debtor either pays the judgment in full or makes an arrangement to pay over an agreed period.


Judgments transferred to an HCEO attract interest at 8% from the date of transfer to the High Court if under £5000, or from the date of the judgment itself if over £5000. On larger value judgments this interesting figure can be valuable and can help to offset the cost and inconvenience of enforcement action.


High Cout Enforcement - Enforcement fees and stages


1. Compliance Stage

This fee will be added to the judgment debt, along with high court enforcement costs and high court enforcement fees, interest and the costs of execution, writ of execution when a judgment is sent to an HCEO for enforcement. This fee, as mentioned already, is £75 plus VAT, making a total of £90. When we receive an instruction to enforce a judgement, enforce a money judgment we add this fee to our case management system, and depending on the outcome of the enforcement action, either the debtor will pay the fee, or it will fall on the creditor if we are not able to recover the judgment debt.


The legislation declares that a Notice of Enforcement (Compliance letter) is given to the debtor informing them about.

  • Debt value.

  • Costs and interest

  • Details of the debt such as the claimant and court reference numbers

  • How to make payment

  • The date and time the payment must be made by to prevent enforcement action

  • Costs of enforcement action

  • Debt support agencies details


2. First Stage Enforcement: Stage 1

This fee is added to the judgment debt when the HCEO’s enforcement agent attends at the address on the writ of control or writ of possession. The fee comprises both a fixed fee and a commission fee as follows:

  • Fixed fee of £190 plus VAT – making a total of £228

  • Commission Fee of 7.5% plus VAT of the sum to be recovered under the writ of control form – over the sum of £1,000

If a judgment debt pays the enforcement agents in full at the time of the first visit or sets up an agreed payment arrangement, then only the Compliance Fee plus this fee will be added to the judgment debt, along with high court sheriff costs, and interest. The HCEO’s office calculates the full amount and negotiates the payment arrangements with the judgment debtor.


3. Second Stage Enforcement: Stage 2

This fee becomes payable when the judgment debtor either:

  • Refuses to make a payment at the time of the enforcement agent’s visit; or

  • Refuses to set up a payment plan with a signed agreement in place – which is referred to as “a controlled goods agreement”

The amount of this additional fee is set at £495 plus VAT – making a total of £594.


4. Sale or Disposal Stage

Ultimately if the enforcement agent and the HCEO can’t achieve payment in full or an agreed payment arrangement, the HCEO will escalate the enforcement of the Writ of Control to the Sale or Disposal Stage. There are many factors that can decide if this fee is going to be charged – not least the value of the goods taken into legal control and their forced auction sale value. You shouldn’t be surprised if a decision is made only to remove goods if an indemnity is given by the creditor to cover the cost of removal of the goods. Particularly with cars – it can be expensive to remove a car that has a low second-hand value.


So it comes down to a question of economics. Sometimes the only leverage the HCEO and creditor have is to escalate the high court writ, writs to this stage to underline to the debtor the seriousness of the situation.


Court Claim for Money: Enforce a Judgment

If that happens, or the natural course of the Writ is to go to this stage, then the following fees are added to the judgment debt:

  • A further fixed fee of £525 plus VAT – making a total of £630

  • A further commission fee of 7.5% plus VAT of the sum to be recovered – again where the amount of that sum is over £1,000

By this stage, the total commission payable by the judgment debtor is 15% of the judgment debt, plus VAT and the fixed fees for Compliance, Stage 1, Stage 2, and Sale and Disposal Stage.


Exceptional Disbursements

When dealing with Writs of Control involving high-value assets such as aircraft or valuable works of art, an HCEO can apply to the Court for the specialist costs of removal, maintenance, insurance, and storage to be added to the judgment debt. If this becomes necessary our expert team will discuss the matter with you directly.


Routine Disbursements

The HCEO is permitted to add the high court writ cost of storage, auctioneers fees and locksmiths to the final charges made under the Writ of Control without the need to apply to the Court.


How much does it cost to get a writ?

If you are a creditor, your investment in transferring your judgment to the High Court is going to be £156. You will be entitled to get back £66.00 plus £51.75 against this investment in the event a Writ of Control is issued and the debtor has the funds to pay either immediately or over an agreed period. You may be asked to indemnify the HCEO if it’s a borderline case but in our experience, we only allow cases to go to the Sale and Disposal Stage if there is a real chance of recovery.


If you are a debtor, our advice is to pay what is due on the Notice of Enforcement and contact our office as soon as you receive this Notice. The Notice is clearly marked and will come to you via email or postal service. You have 7 clear days to arrange payment of the outstanding judgment before the enforcement agent attends. If you pay the judgment in this period in full you will only be charged the £75.00 plus VAT.


If you can’t pay in full or ignore the Notice of Enforcement then further fees will be added. These can become expensive so please take legal advice or go to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau to seek support on what to do next.


What is the compliance fee?

This is what used to be referred to as the “abortive fee” which reflects the fact that the HCEO could not enforce the Writ. A client will have already paid for this in the fixed fee of £156 so we do not charge it again.


What happens if you can't pay a High Court writ?

If you miss any payments, then the bailiff, the enforcement officer can seize your assets to the value of the debt and trade them at auction.

How much does Shergroup charge for its Enforcement Services?

Please check out our Shop to see if the service you need is available as a fixed price service. For more complex projects please contact our Business Solutions TEAM to discuss your project.

What happens if the Judgement Debtor has no goods?

We will not be able to enforce the judgment. But what we do is explain what we saw, and what we think your next course of action can be.


If the Judgment Debtor wants to deal with me directly and make a payment is this OK? Who will pay your fees?

We would always want you to talk to your personal Business Solutions Advisor before accepting any settlement from a Judgment Debtor who is subject to a Writ of Control.


Statutory Charges and Fees

The fees due under the Writ of Control cover 4 clear stages. Depending on when the Writ is paid, or a payment plan is agreed, the fees will become due.


How soon can a Judgment Creditor start the process of enforcement with Shergroup Enforcement?

A Judgment Creditor can start the process of transferring a judgment to Shergroup for enforcement as soon as the Court had issued a paper judgment or order.


Can Shergroup Enforcement Agents enter a Judgment Debtor’s property?

The Writ of Control which is issued in the name of Shergroup’s Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer gives the enforcement agents authority to enter the address of the Judgment Debtor in defined situations.


My Judgment Debtor has applied for an application to set aside the judgment – what can I do?

If you find yourself in this situation and you don’t have access to a solicitor who you know, we can refer you to a firm of solicitors who will be able to assist you.



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