Bailiff fees: High Court Enforcement.

If a creditor has obtained a judgment against you for between £600 and £5,000, he can choose whether to have the judgment enforced by either a County Court bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO)…now called an Enforcement Agent. Judgments that are  below £600 must only be enforced by a County Court bailiff.  Those over £5,000 must only be enforced by a High Court Enforcement Officer. The fees that can be charged are outlined in the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 and are explained in detail below.

The amount that can be recovered by the High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) under the writ of control will consist of the judgment debt, court costs, the court transfer up fee (of £60) , interest at 8% and the statutory enforcement agent fees as outlined below.

Compliance Stage

The fee for this stage is  £90 including VAT.

As soon as the High Court Enforcement Officer(HCEO)  receives the sealed writ of control, they must send you a  Notice of Enforcement . The Compliance Fee of £90 is added at this stage.

The Notice of Enforcement must be sent to you personally, giving you 7 clear days (excluding Sundays and bank holidays) to pay the sums outlined. If you pay the full amount (including the £90 Compliance Fee) during the compliance stage (i.e; before the cut off date on the Notice of Enforcement) then the matter is concluded.

If you cannot afford to pay the entire amount in full at this stage, the HCEO/enforcement agent is  legally obliged to consider a sensible payment proposal. However, it is vitally important to be aware that in order to accept a payment proposal, the Enforcement Agent is obliged to make a personal visit to your premises on behalf of the creditor, in order to secure the debt. This visit will attract the Enforcement Stage 1 fee as outlined below.

Enforcement Stage 1

The fee for this stage is £190 plus 7.5% of the sums to be recovered over £1,000 plus VAT. For example, if the outstanding debt is £3,500, the 7.5% would only be charged on the sum over £1,000 (i.e; £2,500).

At this visit, a payment proposal may be agreed but in order to satisfy the terms of the writ of control, the High Court Enforcement Officer must seek to secure the debt on behalf of the creditor by getting a Controlled Goods Agreement signed. By signing the Controlled Goods Agreement, you will be able to retain the use of the goods listed but these goods may be taken at a later stage if you default on the payment agreement.

It is vitally important to make clear that if you do have available goods that can be taken (usually a motor vehicle) and you refuse to sign a Controlled Goods Agreement, then the High Court Enforcement Officer is legally entitled to immediately remove goods and accordingly, he may then charge the Enforcement Stage 2 fee below.

PS: In some circumstances,  it  is possible for the enforcement agent to also charge the Sale Stage Fee as well (see more below).

Enforcement Stage 2

The fee for this stage is a flat fee of £495 plus VAT.

If you fail to make any payment or enter into an acceptable instalment arrangement covered by a Controlled Goods Agreementor default on a previously made agreement, the High Court Enforcement Officer is obliged to re-attend your property with a view to removing goods. If  preparations are made for their removal,  the Sale Stage Fee as outlined below may also apply.

Sale Stage Fee

The fee for this stage is £525 plus 7.5% of the sums to be recovered over £1,000, plus VAT.

The costs of removal are normally included in this sale stage fee. However, in very limited circumstances, it is possible for the enforcement agent to apply to the High Court for an order that they may recover exceptional expenses from the debtor. It should be made clear that such an application requires the consent of the creditor and should only apply in exceptional cases. For example; this could apply where the HCEO is anticipating removing an item such as a boat, motor home, heavy machinery etc.

The only other fees chargeable (without application to court) are for disbursements such as locksmiths, storage and auctioneers fees.

Commentary  from Bailiff Advice Online

If you have any concerns about fees charged by a High Court Enforcement Officer  or are experiencing  difficulty in getting a payment agreement accepted, you can email a question to us using our popular Enquiry Form.  Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact Page   page for further details.