Pre-April 2014 the answer to the question as to whether enforcement was permitted on a Sunday would have been a definite “NO”. Taking control of goods on a Good Friday or Christmas Day would also have been a NO GO using a Writ of Fieri Facias – now known as a Writ of Control.
However, when the Taking Control of Goods Regulations (TCGR) came into force on 6th April 2014, the situation changed, and the position is now set out in a statute.
Under Regulation 12 of the TCGR, the position is clear and unambiguous. The Regulation states “The enforcement agent may take control of goods of the debtor on any day of the week”. Nice and clean and easy to understand!
Times for Taking Goods into Legal Control
It is worth noting that whilst the old law has been swept away, the new law also stipulates the times that a Writ of Control can be enforced.
Under Regulation 13 of the TCGR, “the enforcement agent may not take control of goods of the debtor before 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on any day”. In practice, this stipulation doesn’t impact on the day-to-day work of Shergroup’s Enforcement Agents.
However, sub-paragraph (2) of Regulation 13 does qualify this position which allows the enforcement agent to make an application to the court to enforce the Writ of Control outside of these hours.
The Regulation also anticipates goods being taken into legal control where the normal hours of operation of the debtor’s business are outside the 6 am to 10 pm window. An example of when this might be necessary is when the enforcement involves a venue such as a nightclub which opens at 10.00 pm and goods need to be taken into legal control later in the evening.
Finally, if an enforcement agent starts to take legal control of goods at 7 pm but has not finished by the time of the 9 pm cut-off as envisaged in paragraph (1) of the Regulation, then the situation is saved by paragraph 2(c) of the Regulation. This allows the operation of taking goods into legal control to continue so long as it remains reasonable.
Regulation 12 and 13 of the TCGR 2013 provided much-needed clarity on the application of the law in relation to days and times of operation. Judgment Debtors are clear and so are their advisors on when enforcement can take place.
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