High Court Enforcement Fees
If a creditor has obtained a judgment against you which is for over £600 (including court costs) and below £5,000 he can choose whether to have the judgment enforced by either a County Court bailiff or a High Court Enforcement Officer (now called an Enforcement Agent). Judgments below £600 must only be enforced by a County Court bailiff.
The amount that can be recovered by the HCEO will be the judgment debt, the court costs, the court transfer up fee (£60) , interest at 8% and the statutory enforcement agent fees outlined below.
Compliance Stage Fee: £75
Enforcement Fee 1: £190
Enforcement Fee 2: £495
Sale Stage Fee: £525
The fee for this stage is £75 plus VAT.
As soon as the High Court Enforcement Officer receives the sealed writ of control, they must send you a Notice of Enforcement . A statutory Compliance Fee of £90 (£75 plus vat) is added at this stage.
The Notice of Enforcement must be sent to you personally, giving 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 enforcement company are 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 in every case 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 proposal agreed.
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 the goods. If so, he may then charge the Enforcement Stage 2 fee below.
PS: In some circumstances, he may 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 to enter into an acceptable instalment arrangement covered by a Controlled Goods Agreement or default on a previously made payment proposal, then the High Court Enforcement Officer is obliged to re-attend your property with a ‘view’ to the removal of goods. If goods were to actually be removed, the 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
If you have any queries about the fees charged by any one of the following companies when enforcing a County Court judgment (Marston Holdings, Andrew Wilson & Co, The Sheriffs Office, HCE Group, Burlingon, DCBL Ltd etc) then you can submit a question to us via our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact our free Bailiff Advice helpline on 01643 841886. For our opening hours, please see our Contact page.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.