It’s well documented that the individual, freelancers and small businesses are often the last in the queue for payment of their services and goods.
Many in exasperation turn to the money claim online service also often referred to as the small claims court. Usually uncontested the claimant is awarded a County Court Judgment (CCJ). Many then still find the money remains unpaid, in spite of the CCJ, as the businessperson hasn’t realised that judgment also needs to be enforced.
The tragedy is as many claimants are unfamiliar with the legal process, a significant proportion of CCJs therefore either remain unpaid or only part paid (the latter case usually offered as a delaying tactic or final gesture by the debtor). Unfortunately the experience in recovering the CCJ can be a struggle and involving more stress. So it’s no surprise that so many freelancers and small companies will often decide that enough is enough and the bad debt be written-off …..or should it?
Court Enforcement Services has produced an animated video alerting freelancers and small companies to a less well known option – transferring up the CCJ to the High Court. At this point they will take a sharp intake of breath, but the High Court Enforcement option won’t significantly impact on their time, is usually a faster process, with a better success rate and is not costly like most would assume.
Any CCJ over £600 can be transferred up to the High Court. For commercial debts the £600 qualification can include ‘statutory interest’ owed* and court fees. High Court specialists such as Court Enforcement Services don’t charge for administering the transfer up service to the High Court, which can be undertaken via the company online or by post. There is a court fee of £60 payable which will be added to the debtor costs.
A £75 fee is also payable should the debtor be unable to pay (as they may not have assets which can be seized to pay the debt) or the debtor cannot be found. Court Enforcement Services however want to make the point that many CCJs are also written off too early, through a combination of contributing factors. These include undertaking preliminary tracing using standard available ‘databases’. The small business person hasn’t the time let alone the field resources that an enforcement company such as theirs have at their disposal.
Daren Simcox Director, Joint Managing Director at Court Enforcement Services said, ‘We believe that the animated video will show in a fun and informative way how a freelancer or small company can take the CCJ transfer up to High Court Enforcement route and avoid bad debts harming their business or personal income. When the debtor and business is located and the money is still owed, the visit by an experienced High Court Officer who is acting with added powers of the superior court can achieve results, which under traditional routes would not have been achieved’.
The interest you can charge if another business is late paying for goods or a service is ‘statutory interest’ – this is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate for business to business transactions.
High Court Enforcement Officers are responsible for the enforcement of the Writs of Execution issued out of the High Court, the most popular of which being the “Writ of Control” formerly known as “Writ of Fieri Facias” or “Writ of Fi Fa”. This is a writ issued for the recovery of money owed and provides for the seizure and sale of the judgment debtor’s goods.