Bailiffs at the door (sorry, that should read ‘Enforcement Officer’)
25 November 2021: As insolvency practitioners we often receive calls from directors under pressure who have creditor enforcement action at the forefront of their minds.
With Government interventions introduced during the pandemic, aimed at preventing creditor action, having begun to ease, we have noticed a number of instances of debt enforcement action recently and specifically with regard to the threat of bailiffs turning up at the debtors door.
In terms of the technicalities regarding bailiff action, where a judgement has been secured by a creditor, action may be taken to satisfy the judgement through execution. The debtor will first receive notice of this intended execution and given 7 days to deal with the debt. The term “Enforcement Agent” is now used instead of bailiff. If collecting under a county court judgement (up to £5,000) they are “Enforcement Officers”; with a high court judgement they are “High Court Enforcement Officers” (HCEOs, formerly known as sheriffs).
HCEOs are members of the HCEO Association and follow a code of best practice in addition to the National Standards for Enforcement Agents issued by the Ministry of Justice. If threatened by enforcement action it may be sensible to review the best practice and standards to ensure that they are being followed by those threatening action. The HCEO Association membership can also be verified to ascertain if the debt collector is who they say they are – please do be aware of unregulated debt collectors using terminology which mirrors actual judgements but does not carry the weight of the law.
When under pressure from creditors it is understandable if the threat of someone turning up at the door threatening to take things away becomes the primary concern. Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact us at BRI in order that we may assist by outlining what action may or may not be possible by the creditor and also talking through the options available to the client to deal with their potential insolvent position.
As always here at BRI we will offer the right advice first time every time regardless of the fee outcome for us.