CPR 85 claims on controlled goods and executed goods
Any claim must be made within 7 days of removal of goods, with a claim to exempt goods given in writing to the enforcement agent, the following information must be provided: name, address, list of goods they are claiming ownership of along with any relevant supporting evidence.
Who owns the goods?
Third-party claims to goods should be carefully considered by enforcement agents and their associates. All reasonable enquires should be undertaken prior to the procedures outlined to confirm ownership of the goods in question as costs may be incurred. Matters should where possible be settled informally.
However, if this is not possible, there is a procedure in place for a disputed claim to goods. It should be noted that any liability will only be passed to the enforcement agent or their related parties if they were aware at the time of sale that there was a third-party claim, or that the goods were not either partly fully owned by the debtor.
If goods seized are jointly owned by the debtor and a third-party, the enforcement officer is entitled to take control of the goods and then seek direction from the court as to the division of the proceeds of sale.
If there is a third-party claim to goods, that the items to be taken belong to someone other than the debtor there is a is a procedure to resolve any dispute.
This procedure involves the enforcement officer, the third-party laying claim to the goods, and the creditor setting out their claims so that the court can decide who owns the items. If any claim put forward is disputed the court will then receive written evidence to back up the claims put forward and decide if it is to order a sale of the goods, or dismiss the claim.
What if the claim is upheld?
If the third- party claim is to be upheld, the enforcement agent must not sell or dispose of any items unless specifically asked by the court to do so. The third party will then be instructed by the court to make a payment that is usually equal to the value of the goods disputed, this sum will be determined by the court. If the third-party claimant fails to make this payment then the court may then direct the sale of the goods. If the value of the goods is disputed at any point then an independent valuation will take place.
Can the goods be sold?
At any point the court may instruct the goods to be sold, and the proceeds retained by the court until a decision on ownership is made.
Obviously, the process is onerous and time consuming for all involved so such a process would usually only be considered if the items under dispute are of a high value.
Our enforcement officers will always do their utmost to ensure any third party claims are settled if they are aware prior to sale or that any joint ownership of an item or items is established and fully disclosed to the court.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance