Top Tips for High Court Enforcement
Being a Certificated Enforcement Agent is a difficult job, but it can be made easier when Clients and High Court Enforcement Officers work collaboratively. Below, we look at how you can improve your recovery rates with our top 10 tips:
Know Your Debtor
Where possible, and this might not be possible in all scenarios, obtain as much information as possible at the front end to save the necessity of obtaining this at the back end of the recovery process. Can you obtain addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, scanned copies of drivers licenses, guarantor information, etc, before doing business? This can all be vital information should they miss payments later on.
Be Mindful of the risk of Potentially Vulnerable Debtors
Vulnerability plays a huge part in the enforcement of any Writ of Control, and any claim to vulnerability has to be taken seriously. There’s strict requirements around vulnerability pursuant to the Ministry of Justice’s National Standards for Enforcement Agents and the Taking Control of Goods Regulations, therefore, if you’re aware of a potential vulnerability, it is best practice to highlight this before instructing us as we can take the relevant measures before making attendance. In certain situations, it may be that we’re unable to accept the instruction at all, which will save you and your client money and time in the long run.
Pursue the correct Legal Entity
We often see instructions against the incorrect entity, which means the Judgments requires amendment, or in some circumstances, the claim form needs issuing all over again. Be mindful of the spellings, and whether a company’s trading name is the same as their registered name on Companies House. Be particularly mindful in the case of sole traders that you’ve pursued ‘Mr ABC, Trading as ABCD’ and not just ‘ABCD’.
Do you know if the company is live, trading and solvent?
Checks can easily be made using Companies House prior to instruction. Further information as to whether the company is trading can usually be found via Google. Knowing this information can prevent you or your client wasted time and costs, it may also provide the opportunity to oppose any potential liquidation.
Does the Debtor have assets, and where might we find these?
Inform us of any assets the Debtor might have; vehicles are usually the go-to asset, as more likely than not, they’re parked outside of the address. If we’re aware of the vehicle information then we can complete checks such as a HPI check, which will give us a valuation and informs us of the hire purchase status – good subject to HPI are exempt from enforcement. The same applies if you know they park their vehicle in a garage, or in a certain parking bay. If the Enforcement Agent knows where to locate assets, we have a significantly improved chance of seizing them and thus recovering your debt.
Do you have the correct address for Enforcement?
If you’re aware the Debtor may have moved since the Judgment has been issued, then inform us within your instruction for enforcement and we can complete trace checks before we apply for the Writ of Control. This could save a potential abortive fee in a few weeks’ time if the trace results are negative.
Pass on any additional information
Information is king when it comes to enforcement and every detail counts. Do you have access to the Debtor’s social media profile, for example? Social media is playing a bigger role in enforcement than it ever has before. We live in an era where anything worth celebrating, or noting, goes on social media before anything else. Often, these tools can confirm what the Debtor looks like, what vehicle they drive, whether they’re on holiday at the time of enforcement and so on.
This information is imperative for the Enforcement Agent knocking on the door. If you’re aware, for example, that the Debtor has children, then we know at 9am and 3pm, they could well be on the school pick up and therefore, it isn’t likely we’d gain contact by attending at this time. Do you know what the Debtor is employed as – this tells us when they’re likely to be home.
Further beneficial information are contact numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, etc, which provide us with important means to contact the debtor, whether through the enforcement agent, or our in-house collections team.
All this information allows us to maximise every attendance to best secure a positive outcome on your instruction.
If the Debtor contacts your directly
If the Debtor contacts you during the lifespan of enforcement, it’s often the case they’re trying to avoid the fees of the High Court Enforcement Officer. Therefore, it’s in both parties best interest for you to refer them directly back to us. This means that any meaningful offer of repayment can be secured under a Controlled Goods Agreement and can be monitored inhouse for receipt of each payment. The key benefit is that where the Debtor enters into a Controlled Goods Agreement, the Writ of Control does not expire.
Issue your Writs of Control sooner rather than later
It’s an old adage that ‘time is money’, but in the instance of High Court Enforcement, this couldn’t be truer. Where you’re able to, instruct us at the earliest opportunity whilst the information you have at hand is as current as it can be. By leaving your Judgments for another day, you risk the Debtor absconding from their property, changing their contact information, or in the case of companies, liquidating.
Do Not regret leaving it too late
As per the above, the sooner you can issue your Writ of Control, the better the chances are of a full recovery. The same can be said for issuing your claim – if you know the Debtor has a history of failed promises of payment, or avoiding your letters and emails altogether, then do not regret giving the Debtor further opportunity to make payment.
Whilst not all of the information above may be available, by providing as much as possible within your instruction, your providing the best chance for your High Court Enforcement Officer to recover the debt in full.
For any further information on how we can recover your Judgments, contact our team.