In July and August 2015 the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) conducted a survey on the removal of constraints imposed on the enforcement of Consumer Credit Act (CCA) regulated judgments under the Jurisdiction Order 1991.
There were 312 responses to the survey, coming from creditors writing CCA regulated finance agreements (8.8%), other creditors (19.9%) and solicitors representing creditors (47.2%).
Choice of enforcement
In 2003, the Courts Act gave many creditors wider choice of enforcement by removing the county boundaries which had constrained HCEOs, leading to competition and ongoing service quality and systems improvements amongst HCEO firms. Unlike County Court bailiffs, HCEOs are zero cost to the tax payer and many creditors find them more effective.
However it left in place a number of constraints on HCEOs, thus restricting creditor choice of enforcement.
- 92% of respondents would use HCEOs to enforce CCA regulated agreements
- 87.9% would support a change in the Jurisdiction Order to allow this
- 89.1% see no justification for the current distinction between County Court and High Court enforcement
- 51.5% said that they would be likely to increase the number of claims issued if they could use HCEOs for regulated agreements
I think the results are a clear call for changes to the Jurisdiction Order with regards to the enforcement of CCA regulated judgments.
However, there are two other related areas that I would have liked the survey to have reported on and those are:
- The restriction on HCEOs enforcing judgments below £600
- The requirement for court permission for HCEOs to enforce County Court possession orders (apart from those against “persons unknown”)
If the Ministry of Justice is really going to give choice to creditors, then these two artificial constraints should also be removed.
How you can help
The HCEOA encourages all those impacted by the Jurisdiction Order to share this report and lobby the MoJ for changes to the Jurisdiction Order.
Read the full report
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance