The Sheriffs Office enforces Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) across England and Wales

What are CPOs?

CPOs are used by an acquiring authority to acquire title to land in areas where various developments are due to take place. The person whose land is bought will be awarded compensation to cover the value of the property and land, the cost of buying another property and moving, as well as obtaining professional advice.

The warrant is issued by acquiring authority; that can include the local authority, the Homes and Communities Agency, an urban development corporation or an agency set up to deliver an infrastructure project, such as roads, railways and airports, under an Act of Parliament.

Serving notice

A CPO can be exercised either by serving a notice to treat or executing a general vesting declaration. A notice to treat is a formal request from the acquiring authority to agree a price for a property, whereas a general vesting declaration is a formal procedure that gives the acquiring authority the right to take over the ownership of property.


When the occupant refuses to leave the property, the acquiring authority will need to take action to remove the occupants from the property or land.

There is no requirement for a further court action, as the warrant provides the authority for The Sheriffs Office to act. The warrant is generated either by the refusal of the occupant to give possession to the acquiring authority or by the occupant hindering the acquiring authority’s access to the land or premises subject to the CPO.

The process is very similar to that of a writ of possession. However, it is worth noting that the warrant does not expire after execution. If the property or land is subsequently reoccupied, the CPO provides the authority for further enforcement action (unlike a writ of possession which expires after execution, when a writ of restitution is required if the property is reoccupied).