NOTE: The interpleader process has been replaced by CPR Part 85 rules.
There are two principal circumstances where interpleader action may be brought in relation to HCEO enforcement. In the first instance, if a defendant is being sued, or expects to be sued for a debt by two or more separate parties, then they may apply for the Court to issue an interpleader summons.
More commonly however is after the creditor obtained a judgment and the appropriate writ, a third party then claims ownership of the money or goods that have been or will be seized.
If the creditor disputes the third party’s claim, the Court will issue an interpleader summons for all the parties to attend Court to so that rightful ownership can be determined
If a third party intends to make a claim, they must advise the HCEO enforcing the action, giving their name and address (the address must be the address for service).
When the HCEO receives this claim, they must give notice to their client, the original creditor, and the creditor must advise the HCEO within seven days whether they are admitting or disputing this claim. If the creditor does admit the claim, they are only liable to pay for the fees and expenses incurred by the HCEO before the notice was received.
If the creditor either disputes the claim or fails to respond within seven days, then the HCEO can apply to Court to issue an interpleader summons.
When applying for an interpleader summons, the creditor applying must provide evidence that they:
- Claim no interest in the subject-matter in dispute other than for charges or costs
- Do not collude with any of the claimants to that subject-matter
- Are willing to pay or transfer that subject-matter into court or to dispose of it as the court may direct.
However, if the person applying is an HCEO, then they don’t need to provide this evidence unless the Court asks them to.
Sheriff’s (i.e. HCEO) interpleader proceedings may only be brought in the Queen's Bench Division.