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