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What is a Writ of Control?

Have you obtained a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against a defaulting debtor? Are they still refusing to settle the debt? Applying for a Writ of Control could be the next step.

The issuing of a CCJ may be enough to persuade a debtor to settle a debt or agree to a payment plan. However, there may still be cases where it’s necessary to take things to the next level. That’s when you can consider applying for a Writ of Control, which can be a useful tool in enforcing the judgment.

What is a Writ of Control?

A Writ of Control is a court order issued by the High Court. It gives you the power to employ High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs), who can seize and sell the judgment debtor’s assets in order to settle the outstanding debt. This method of enforcing a CCJ is often referred to as ‘execution against goods’.

A Writ of Control can be used to enforce a CCJ where the amount outstanding is £600 or higher. It can’t be used to enforce a judgment for a debt which is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (for example car loans or credit card debt). Such debts can only be enforced by County Court bailiffs.

How does it work?

Enforcement begins with the sending of a Notice of Enforcement to the debtor. If they have one or multiple addresses, the HCEO will send a notice to and visit each address in turn.

The HCEO will review what goods are at the debtor’s address and, subject to one or two limitations, the goods can then be placed under their control. This means that the judgment debtor can’t sell or transfer those goods to a third party until they have complied with the terms of the CCJ.

If the debtor fails to settle the amount due, and has goods that can be sold, the HCEO will remove and sell the goods to settle the outstanding amount. If the amount achieved by selling the goods doesn’t repay the full amount of the debt, the HCEO will visit the debtor again to see if they have any other goods which can sold.

What goods can the HCEO seize from the debtor?

The HCEO can only take goods which can be proved to be owned by the debtor. This includes vehicles, cash, jewellery, art and livestock. Items they can’t take include tools of the trade worth less than £1,350, household items needed to satisfy basic needs, such as white goods, or anything which is being paid for via a finance agreement, such as a lease car.

How long does the Writ of Control last?

The Writ of Control lasts 12 months from the date of issue. However, you can extend it once for a further 12-month period by submitting an application before the expiry date. You’ll need to tell the court why you need the extension and explain why it hasn’t been possible to take control of the goods during the initial 12-month period.

Leave it to us

Taking legal action against a debtor is a big step and it’s important to ensure that everything is done correctly to have the best chance of getting a positive result as quickly as possible. At Redwood Collections, we have extensive experience in all aspects of debt collection. We can oversee all the legal processes on your behalf, from preparing court documents to instructing HCEOs. With our support, your business can Grow Stronger.

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