Enforcement of a Judgment by an Enforcement Agent
Sheriffs have existed since the days of King Alfred in Saxon
times when their main duty was to keep the peace in counties and
shires allocated to them by the King. The King often also
committed his castles and manors to them, they provided the castles
with ammunition and other necessaries and stocked and improved his
manors, they were also the King's farmer or bailiff and collected
his rents and revenues.
Their duties have changed considerably over the centuries and
under the Sheriffs Act of 1887 (still in force now) their role has
become what it is today i.e. the enforcement of Judgments by
recovery of money and eviction of tenants and trespassers.
Their name has also changed from Sheriffs to "Enforcement
They can visit residential and business premises between 6.00 am
and 9.00 pm seven days a week (excluding Bank Holidays) or during
the opening hours of a business if it is not open during these
times i.e nightclubs.
They can enter commercial premises through a main entrance,
loading bay and can force entry through a locked door but they can
no longer climb through an open window. They can visit the
home of a Director if this is the Registered Office of the company
or the home of any Partners in a Partnership but they are then
bound by the rights of entry in respect of residential premises
which are only through an unlocked front or back door. They
can climb over a fence or wall to gain access to grounds of a house
but cannot force entry.
When enforcing a monetary Judgment their priority is to recover
the debt in full but if this is not possible they will enter into a
short repayment plan acceptable to the Claimant or seize
assets. Often just the threat of seizing an asset such as a
prized vehicle can produce payment from a debtor who previously
claims to have no money!
A variety of goods can be seized including vehicles (cars,
boats, aeroplanes etc), stock and machinery, household furniture,
jewellery and art, money, banknotes and cheques, bonds, shares,
deeds and securities, livestock and animals, firearms, jointly
owned property of a married couple, items held by Police, goods on
finance (with permission of the finance company) and luxury items
which they can replace with cheaper items. Tools of trade can
also be seized from a sole trader but not from a Limited Company or
Seized goods can be sold in a variety of ways including public
auction, online auctions such as Ebay or even on site in shop
premises or at a market stall.
Although their role has changed significantly over the
centuries, they are still very powerful men (and now women
too!). They are a popular choice for recovery of money and
re-possession of land or property and we regularly use them with
Posted on: 10/10/2016
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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