Our clients can find themselves on both sides of the County Court Judgment (CCJ) enforcement rules. They may have been to court as the Claimant, perhaps taking action against a supplier who sold them faulty goods, or as the Defendant in a case that a customer has bought regarding a vehicle.
Enforcement Agents, the post 2014 term for bailiffs, can be instructed to collect a CCJ debt. For CCJs over £600, the creditor (the person to whom the debt is owed) can apply to the High Court for the debt to enforced by High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs). Once the HCEOs are instructed, they move quickly as they are employed by private companies (albeit appointed under the High Court Enforcement Officers Regulations 2004) and so are profit driven meaning they will go all out to collect the debt and claim their commission for doing so.
Once the HCEOs are on your tail, you basically have two options, pay up or apply to the High Court for the enforcement to be stayed (suspended). If you do neither, the HCEOs will almost certainly start removing vehicles or other goods which they can sell to generate enough cash to cover the amount owed.
Applications to the High Court will cost £50 and have to be made on an N244. For urgent applications, you can ask the court for a Master (at the High Court in London) or a District Judge (at one of the regional ‘District Registries’ around the country) to hear the application straight away.
It can be very stressful, time consuming and expensive once HCEOs get involved in debt collection and so the best advice, as always, is to seek help early if you are being taken to court.