Court fines and payment arrangements
If you fail to pay a court fine on receipt of the Notice of Fine and Collection Order, a final notice will be issued to you by the court called a Further Steps Notice. If you fail to contact the Fines Officer on receipt of the Further Steps Notice, the court will assume that you have no intention of paying the court fine and in most cases, the Fines Officer will issue a Warrant of Control to one of the four enforcement companies under contract to HMCTS to enforce unpaid court fines (Marston Holdings, Collectica Ltd, Swift Credit Services ( for Wales) or Excel Enforcement Ltd (also for Wales).
Notice of Enforcement (NoE)
On receipt of instructions from HMCTS to enforce the warrant, the enforcement company must abide by the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and issue a Notice of Enforcement to advise that they are instructed to enforce a Warrant of Control. This notice will include a statutory Compliance fee of £75.
If you are intending to make full payment of the amount requested on the Notice of Enforcement, your payment must be made within the very strict time limit (referred to as the Compliance stage) outlined on the Notice of Enforcement. If you fail to make payment within the ‘Compliance stage’, your account will automatically be referred to an enforcement agent for a household visit. There is no requirement for the enforcement company to send a reminder letter. This visit will incur a statutory ‘enforcement fee’ of £235.
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff company?
Yes…however, as outlined above, it is vitally important to note, that if a payment proposal is to be made, it must be agreed within the strict time limit outlined on the Notice of Enforcement. This is referred to as the ‘compliance stage’ and from our experience, most enforcement companies are willing to agree a payment proposal over a period of 3 months and in exceptional cases; up to 6 months. In all cases where a payment arrangement is agreed, the enforcement company will insist on an initial payment being made on the same day as the agreement is set up. This payment will usually be around 25% of the outstanding debt.
As outlined above, if payment is not made, or a payment proposal agreed within the time limit outlined on the Notice of Enforcement, the account will automatically be passed to an enforcement agent to make a personal visit. A statutory enforcement fee of £235 will be added to the account.
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff when he attends my property?
It is much more difficult to agree a payment proposal at this very late stage and furthermore, the regulation provide that the purpose of the visit by the bailiff is to ‘take control of goods’ to satisfy the amount due (including bailiff fees).
With the above in mind, we cannot stress the importance of contacting the bailiff company on receipt of the Notice of Enforcement.
Can I pay the Magistrate Court instead of the bailiff company?
Once a Magistrate Court has passed a warrant to either Marston, Collectica Ltd or Excel Enforcement, then payment should be made to the enforcement company as outlined on the Notice of Enforcement. In every case where a payment is made to the Magistrate Court after a warrant has been issued, HMCTS will automatically pass that payment over to the relevant enforcement company so that they can deduct their fees in accordance with legislation.
If the purpose of making payment to the Magistrate Court is to avoid paying bailiff fees then sadly, this will not be achieved. We have a page here detailing the difficulty with paying the court direct.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you are have any queries about a Magistrates Court fine or are experiencing difficulty in getting a payment proposal accepted with either Marston Holdings, Collectica Ltd or Excel Enforcement Ltd, you can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact us via our fee helpline. Details are on our Contact Page.
Lastly, our Simplified Guide to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.