Chamberlain McBain - Courts - Debt Recovery England

Choose Court – Choose Enforcement Officer

The court and therefore the type of enforcement officer is usually determined by the value of the judgement debt.

County Court – Bailiff

The county court Bailiff is attached to a particular county court and is an officer and employee of that court. The Bailiff can assist in the recovery of debts up to, not but not exceeding £5,000.

High Court – High Court Enforcement Officer

Only debts greater than £600 can be collected by a High Court Enforcement Officer.

Sheriff’s Officers or High Court Enforcement Officers are authorised by the Lord Chancellor and work privately or in private companies. A Sheriff’s Officer works under the authority of a writ of control (previously called a writ of fieri facias or fi fa). This is issued when a County Court Judgment, Order or Tribunal Award is transferred to the High Court for enforcement. If successful, the Sheriff’s Officer will collect your judgment debt, your court costs, your £60 transfer up fee, interest at 8% and enforcement fees from the debtor.

A Sheriff’s Officer earns their fees from the judgment debtor, but only when they collect. If the Sheriff’s Officer is unable to collect, there is an industry regulated compliance fee of £75 plus VAT paid by the creditor. Other than the compliance fee, the Sheriff’s Officer receives no income for an unsuccessful enforcement. As a result, a Sheriff’s Officer tends to have significantly higher collection rates than those of the County Court Bailiffs, who are salaried without any financial incentive to collect.

NB: Debts between £600 and £5,000 can be enforced by with a Bailiff or a Sheriff’s Officer, although judgements issued in the County Court will need to be transferred up before instructing a Sheriff’s Officer and there is a fee for this.

The content of this website is for general information only and should not be relied upon. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice.