In a joint industry submission, the Government has proposed reforms that would allow high court enforcement officers and certificated enforcement agents to enforce small sum County Court Judgments (CCJ) and Consumer Credit Act judgments.
The joint submission by the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) and the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) has been made to the Ministry of Justice Reform Policy and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service Reform Programme Teams.
The proposed reforms is to alternate the 1991 High Court & County Court Jurisdiction Order to allow high court enforcement officers, assisted, where appropriate by certificated enforcement agents, to enforce CCJs below £600 and judgments based on Consumer Credit Act agreements.
The submission prepared by Toby Riley-Smith QC & Celia Oldham both of Henderson Chambers, is supported by a detailed Opinion (“Efficient & Effective Enforcement Against Goods: The Way Forward”).
Andrew Wilson, Chair of the HCEOA said “Lord Briggs highlighted the failings of debt enforcement by County Court bailiffs in his Final Report and this is a suggested interim solution to ease the workload of the bailiffs and allow them more time to perform their other duties, such as enforcing orders for possession.”
Kevin McCarthy, Chair of CIVEA said “CIVEA members already handle over 6 million liability orders and warrants and are well placed to ensure that court users can rely on having judgments enforced professionally, efficiently and with experts skilled at dealing with people who may be vulnerable.”
High Court Enforcement Officers have a higher collection rate than the average County Court Bailiff. Whilst seizing goods is not always an effective method of County Court Judgement Enforcement, it is the most commonly used method for enforcing payment.
It is widely viewed that these improvements to CCJ Debt Collection would help improve the economy as a whole and help many small businesses in the United Kingdom combat the problem of unpaid debt.