What is a High Court Writ?
A High Court Writ is a formal written order by the high court, on behalf of creditors, requesting they receive the debts they are owed. There are many types of High Court Writs, yet the most common is the writ of control. This writ allows the seizure and if so be it, the removal and sale of the debtors goods, if the debt is not repaid or a payment plan is not agreed. Receiving a writ is not advisable – it will be held on the registry trust for six years which can put strains on your ability to obtain credit.
Writs tend to have a time frame specified – typically a year.
If you have received one, you have 7 working days to react and try to prevent bailiff action.
- Most obviously, pay off the debt! Take into consideration that high court enforcement officers (bailiffs) will add charges to your debt, so it would have already maximised anyway.
- If you cannot pay the debt all at once, you may need to apply for quick finance or seek alternative ways of raising cash – see our page on this here for more information.
- Consider your budget. Can you afford paying now?
- Contact the bailiff and your creditor and see if an agreement to pay in instalments can be arranged. Include as much detail as possible, to encourage them to agree. If it is agreed, ensure you comply and pay the agreed sums on time, if not earlier, to demonstrate your commitment. If you fail to pay any instalments, bailiffs have the right to seize your goods which amount up to the debts value and sell them at auction.
- If an arrangement cannot be made, a ‘’stay of execution’’ can be applied for. It is a last option though as it is hard to justify being granted for one. If you are granted, your writ will be paused so you can sort out your matters – however a court fee is charged.
If none of these options are feasible for you and the writ cannot be prevented, bailiffs (enforcement agents) have the right to visit your commercial premises, with forced entry and take possession of assets and remove goods for auction.
How are Writs of Control enforced?
Claimants can either directly or via their solicitor, obtain a county court judgement against debtors for their money owed. If the debt remains after this, for those valuing more than £600, it can be transferred to the high court, hence become a high court writ.
The writ of control will be addressed to the High Court Enforcement Officer who is named, and they will be the one responsible for its enforcement. They also get the power to value the amounts of the goods seized – if needed.
For claimants, getting a writ of control is more effective in terms of cost and time, as it offers a quicker and more successful route, than other enforcement options. Also, despite the claimant having to pay a £66 fee, the amount can be added to the total debt they are owed and so claimants’ benefit. However, claimants should be relatively certain they will be able to get their payment, as if unsuccessful, a £75 fee +VAT will be charged.