There are several different types of writs that may be used by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to execute a judgment.

The one we most commonly used is the writ of control (formerly called a writ of fieri facias – or ‘fi fa’ for short) – but there are other writs of execution for different scenarios:

  • Writ of control
  • Writ of delivery
  • Writ of possession
  • Writ of sequestration
  • Writ of restitution
  • Writ of assistance

Writ of control

The writ of control is the High Court version of a warrant of execution in the County Court. It empowers an HCEO to seize goods belonging to a judgment debtor In order that the judgment debt is settled, either by way of payment or sale.

Writ of delivery

The writ of delivery is most commonly used by companies to recover specific goods that have not been fully paid for and the defendant is in arrears, for example finance companies. The writ of delivery is appropriate where the claimant wants to recover the goods, rather than receive payment for them. The Sheriffs Office has successfully used a writ of delivery to seize counterfeit goods on behalf of the trademark owner on several occasions.

Writ of possession

This is a writ of possession issued by the High Court after a judgment or order for possession of either property or land has been awarded. It can only be passed to the High Court for enforcement if the occupiers are deemed trespassers or special provision is granted by the issuing County Court. An example would be the eviction of travellers or squatters from land or a property.

These are often combined with monetary orders allowing enforcement and the seizure of goods in the same manner as with a writ of control.

Writ of sequestration

If the debtor fails to pay within the specified time, the judgment creditor may be entitled to a writ of sequestration to obtain payment. The original order requiring payment of the judgment debt must warn the debtor that failure to pay the sum set out in the order may be enforced by writs of sequestration. The original order must be served personally and contain the penal notice.

During the course of a sequestration, property is seized by the HCEO executing the writ, and the property is then managed for the purpose of collecting rents or profits.

Writ of restitution

This writ is used to evict a trespasser after they have re-entered a property or other premises after a previous eviction.

Writ of assistance

This is usually issued where it will or has proved impossible to execute a Writ of Delivery or Possession. To give an example, we have used a Writ of Assistance to force open a safe where we believed documents (subject to a writ of delivery) were being held. Another example was when we used a writ of assistance to remove data from a computer database and deliver it to the claimant.

I suggest you check with your solicitor and HCEO to see which writ will be most appropriate to each situation.

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