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Obtaining a County Court Judgment can be a lengthy process, and one often breath’s a sigh of relief when all this is over. However, unfortunately things do not always stop with the obtaining of such a Judgment.
In this ever changing climate it is often the case that debtors do not take any notice of the Court Order and Claimants can often be left wondering which way to turn next.
That’s where we come in.
As the most effective form of enforcement available in the UK, High Court Enforcement Group (HCE Group) provides an optimal proactive solution for your Debt Recovery and Eviction Enforcement needs, delivering an expert enforcement service that is both ethical and effective throughout.
HCE Group offers a comprehensive range of recovery services for businesses, organisations and individuals. Our enforcement services cover High Court Writs of Control, Commercial Rent Recovery, Environmental Evictions, Traveller Evictions, Process Serving, Investigations and Commercial Forfeiture of property.
With a combined experience that exceeds 250 years, our 21 Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers are leading the way forward in setting industry standards and delivering on client expectations. Our unparalleled industry experience, transparency, and professional integrity ensure that we deliver the ultimate High Court Enforcement service throughout England and Wales, and now we are looking to assist our international clients through the Connexx network.
The Connexx network will provide our international clients with a platform to approach HCE Group to assist them in pursuing debtors who are outside their jurisdiction but reside within the UK. Without this platform our international clients would often find that such debtors are simply outside of their reach.
Now the question arises, how can we assist you?
By approaching HCE Group through the Connexx network we are able to provide you with numerous different enforcement options and these are listed below:
In these circumstances our officers will simply attend the debtor’s premises and attempt to bring attention to the debt in question and obtain the monies without the need for lengthy court action.
This type of enforcement is designed to try and maintain working relationships without the hostility that subsequent court action can bring.
When instructed to attempt recovery for this type of debt we at HCE Group will write to the debtor to inform them of the debt and request payment, we will also call the debtor to attempt to calmly discuss the matter and again request payment.
However, in the events that the above attempts are unsuccessful we will assign the file to our officer to make an attendance at the debtor’s premises to discuss the case with them face to face. It should be noted that when instructed under this heading our officers have no legal powers that they can rely upon and will simply request payment when in attendance. If such payment is not forthcoming we may advise alternative legal proceedings be commenced.
PROCESS SERVING & INVESTIGATION
At HCE Group, we pride ourselves on delivering a personalised service that is of the highest quality and value. In order to achieve this we offer three levels of service. Our system is dedicated to producing personalised reporting, detailing customer needs and individual circumstances in order to ensure that you receive the service features and expert assistance you need, promptly and proficiently.
ALL SERVICE LEVELS INCLUDE:
Confirm receipt of all instructions
Regular client updates
Standard Service of documents
Statement provided for Statutory Demands, Bankruptcy Petitions, Winding-up Petitions and Claim forms
Affidavits provided for N39 Orders
HCE Group deal with all types of Process Serving and is dedicated to providing innovative solutions for all of our clients. If you could not find what you are looking for in this section, then please do not hesitate to contact us with your requirements.
We are also able to offer basic investigation services including lifestyle reports, and tracing services where defendants have vacated the last known address.
WRITS OF Control
A Writ of Control is a method for enforcing a High Court Judgment or a County Court Judgment above £600.00.
A Writ of Control is used to enforce a money judgment. Essentially it involves a High Court Enforcement Officer attending the home or premises of the judgment debtor (the person, business or organisation who owes the money) and seizing and then selling goods belonging to the judgment debtor to the value of the judgment.
Below is a step by step guide on how to obtain a Judgment and subsequently a Writ of Control
Step by Step guide to obtaining a County Court Judgment and subsequently a Writ of Control
1) Pre Court Proceedings
Firstly as the Claimant (the one who is owed the money) you should issue a letter before action to the Defendant advising them that you intend to start proceedings after a specified time if no response to the letter before action is received or if the monies are not forthcoming within the specified period.
2) Completing the Claim Form
If no response to the letter before action is received you can start a court claim by completing a Claim Form (N1). You can obtain these claim forms from local courts and from the HM Courts and Tribunals Service www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk.
The claim form asks for details of the claimant and the defendant and how much is being claimed. It also includes a space for you to detail how the claim has arisen (also referred to as the particulars of claim). In some circumstances, as a claimant you might need extra time to complete the particulars of claim. You have the right to send the particulars of claim to the defendant separately but no later than 14 days after the claim form.
As the claimant you may be able to claim interest on your claim. If so you must include interest in the amount you are claiming on the claim form. There is a specific form of words you should use to do this. For more information about claiming interest, please see the guidance notes that come with the claim form.
In some circumstances, additional documents need to be attached to the particulars of claim. For example, if the claim is based on a written agreement (such as an agreement to purchase goods or services), a copy of the agreement should be attached to the statement of claim.
Some claims for a fixed amount of money can be started online at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk Usually, claims will be issued, printed and sent to the defendant on the day the claim is submitted. Court fees for online claims must be paid by credit or debit card.
3) Applying for the claim form to be issued
As the claimant you should send or take two copies of the claim form to the court where you want to start court action.
You should keep an extra copy for your own records. You must also take or send the court fee. The fee depends on the amount of money claimed. You can find out how much the fee is from the HM Courts and tribunals Service website at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk
In some circumstances the fee might be waived or reduced for example:
Because you are getting certain benefits like Income Support or income based jobseekers allowance.
Because your annual income is low
Because of financial hardship
You can ask the court to tell you how to apply for a reduction or waiver of the fees or you can get more information and the exemption from HM Courts and Tribunals Service website at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. In order to apply for the exemption of the court fee you must complete form EX160
The court will stamp the claim form and in most cases serve it on the defendant. It will give you a notice of issue, a document with the case number on it.
4) How the claim form is served
Usually the court will serve the claim form by sending it to the defendant by first class post. The defendant will be deemed to receive it on the second business day after posting, unless the claim form was issued online. As the claimant if you want to serve it yourself you can ask the court to give it back to you once it has been stamped so that you can serve it. There are a number of forms that must be sent with the claim form.
5) If the defendant is not defending the case
If the defendant accepts that they owe the money claimed, they will not be defending the case and the court will not allocate it to the small claims track to be dealt with.
If they can pay the money immediately, they should send it to you directly.
If they need time to pay, they can suggest an arrangement. For example that they pay the money in instalments or all the money in one lump sum at a certain date in the future. If the claimant accepts this offer you will have to return a form to court requesting judgement on admission. If the defendant does not keep to the arrangement the claimant can take legal action forcing them to pay.
If you do not accept the defendants offer you must give your reasons and a court official will decide what a reasonable arrangement should be. The court will send both parties an order for payment (judgement for claimant after determination)
If you are not happy with the order you should write to the court giving your reasons and you must send a copy of the letter to the defendant. A judge will then decide what is reasonable for the defendant to pay. If the defendant does not keep to the arrangement, the claimant can take enforcement action.
6) If the defendant is defending the case
If the defendant does not accept that they owe the money that is being claimed they will be defending the case. They have to respond to the claim form and the particulars of claim within 14 days of the date of service (this is the second day after posting). If the particulars of claim were served after the claim form, you must respond within 14 days of the date of service of the particulars of claim.
If the defendant does not send a defence in to the court the claimant can ask for an order to be made against them.
The defendant can send their defence to the court. However, if they need more time to prepare a defence they can send back an acknowledgement of service and then the defence within 14 days (the acknowledgement of service would be sent to the defendant initially with the claim form)
When the defence is returned to the court the court will send an allocation questionnaire to both the claimant and the defendant. This must be returned no later than the date specified on it. As the claimant when you return the allocation questionnaire you will have to pay the relevant fee (unless it is waived on financial grounds) the court will use the information given on the allocation questionnaire to decide which track the case will be allocated to.
7) If there is no response to the claim form
If the court does not receive a response to the claim form or you do not receive the monies you can request a default judgment. To do this you must complete form N255
8) Enforcement of court orders
As the claimant you will have to pay a fee to start enforcement proceedings, and there are many types of enforcement which you may wish to consider. We deal with enforcement by way of a Writ of Control which directs us to levy and remove assets belonging to the defendant with a view to selling the assets in order to try and recover the monies owed to you.
In order to apply for enforcement by way of a Writ of Control you must complete form N293A and send this to the court together with the cheque for £65.00 which is the court fee incurred to transfer the Judgment to a Writ. Upon issue of a valid Writ we can then enforce the judgment on behalf of the claimant.
For more information, visit our website www.hcegroup.co.uk
Debt collection specialists and court bailiffs: GGN has them all in-house. A unique combination making us a broadly based and trendsetting organisation in the field of credit management.
GGN has 27 debt collection and court bailiff operations spread across the Netherlands. Over the years we have built up a valuable network where thorough knowledge of local markets and regional legislation are central.
GGN is headquartered in 's-Hertogenbosch, where the board and a number of central support services are based together with the units operating nationally, such as GGN Academy,
GGN Detachering and GGN International. The large accounts in the area of out-of-court debt collection are also served from 's-Hertogenbosch.
In total, our organisation counts some 1350 employees, among them more than 140 (trainee) court bailiffs, 500 collection specialists and 55 lawyers. In addition, GGN operates an extensive network.
GGN works with lawfirm Ploum Lodder Princen for International Claims. This Rotterdam based Dutch lawfirm is not your average law firm.
“Our clients will confirm that it is significantly different. Our goal is to support businesses in achieving theirs. Combining knowhow and practical experience to your advantage is our talent. It’s in our DNA.
We understand what business is about and we know what is important to you. Our expertise is built on what matters to business. We help you achieving your goals swiftly and smoothly.
Our lawyers bear your objectives in mind and have your interests at heart. We invest in knowhow relevant to your business. We expand our network to your advantage and share our best practices, saving you time and resources.
Solving real puzzles is our passion. You won’t find any of our lawyers showing off his academic knowhow, so no unnecessary memos and no tentative or indirect advice. Analysing your issues with a fresh and open mind, our lawyers will give you their honest opinion. Providing solutions, not advice.
We have significant experience in collecting international debts and solving related issues under private international law. This covers the areas of international commercial contracting as well as procedural law (including attachment and execution law and arbitration). We counsel and litigate with regard to the distribution and purchase, sale and delivery of the most diverse goods and services, from manufacturer to end user. We are internationally oriented and we have a well-established informal network of law firms spanning the globe”.
Debt collection in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, payment default cases are handled by debt collection agencies and court bailiffs. The difference between the two is that there is no specific legislation applying to debt collection agencies and that the court bailiff is a protected profession. After a four-year university course, the bailiff is appointed by the Crown.
There is no zoning in the Netherlands anymore; all bailiffs are entitled to take official action anywhere in the Netherlands
Out-of-court collection procedure
In the Netherlands it is normal to first try to collect an outstanding receivable out of court. The Dutch often tend to pay only once they have been sent various reminders and payment demands.
The out-of-court collection process generally consists of written reminders and a payment demand by telephone. This process begins with the so-called “fourteen day letter”; this letter gives the debtor still fourteen days to settle the claim at no additional cost. If timely payment fails, the creditor is entitled to increase the demand with collection costs established by law. Those costs vary from €40 to €6,775 depending on the principal amount to be collected.
In principle, the costs are for the account and risk of the debtor.
Substantive proceedings in the Netherlands
If payment remains outstanding, one can revert to court proceedings. Proceedings concerning claims up to €25,000 can be handled completely by the court bailiff at the district court. Only if the claim is higher than €25,000 does one need to institute proceedings via an attorney in the civil courts,
Once a Dutch debtor has been served a summons, he has six weeks to respond to it and most debtors avail themselves of the right to prolong this period by six weeks. The court will then set a date for an oral hearing, which will take place another three to four months later. In practice, this means that any oral hearing will take place six to eight months after the summons was issued.
If the matter cannot be cleared up during the oral hearing, the parties will need to institute further proceedings and any witnesses will then need to be heard. In such cases, the procedure will last twelve to eighteen months.
The legal costs are made up of the following components:
- summons at €76.17 plus 21% VAT
- court fee (depending on the principal amount and the claimant)
- attorney’s fees (depending on how the procedure runs and the number of procedural stages)
Roughly one can expect legal costs of around €750 to €1,000. Generally, the debtor is ordered to pay those costs.
The costs of instituting proceedings via a lawyer can quickly run to between €2,000.00 and € 5,000.00; in complex cases even a lot more, in which case the debtor will normally be ordered to pay part of the costs given the fact that the costs actually incurred will always be higher.
An alternative procedure is the European Payment Order (EPO) as long as the claim is undisputed and there is a clear cross-border element given. The court fees due are the same as the court fees charged in substantive proceedings, but the EPO Procedure takes much less time. In addition, there are no costs charged for the summons, but a form does need to be served twice on the debtor.
The EPO is a written procedure based on forms. The proceedings are initiated using a so-called Form A. The debtor receives no information on this. As long as the court does not hold the claim to be unlawful or unfounded, it issues a Form E. This form is served on the debtor by the court bailiff, after which the debtor has 30 days to lodge an appeal. If he avails himself of that option, the procedure is referred to the competent court and the case is continued in substantive proceedings (see above). If the debtor fails to appeal after receiving Form E, the court will be asked to issue a Form G. This Form G is the enforceable order and, once this form has been served on the debtor, can be executed if payment remains outstanding.
Attachment in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands it is possible to serve attachment without there having been a judgement against the debtor. So assets can be seized really quickly, this is called “conservatoir beslag” (attachment by garnishment). Once attachment has been served, substantive proceedings must be instituted within 30 days. As soon a judgement has been handed down, the creditor can seize the assets on which a warrant of execution has been served. If a debtor is declared bankrupt all attachments lapse. In practice, attachment makes sense only in exceptional cases.
If a judgement has been handed down and the debtor fails to comply with the order, preference is often accorded to an application for bankruptcy proceedings rather than execution of the warrant by a bailiff.
European enforcement order
If a judgement has already taken place, one can ask the court that made the decision to issue a European Enforcement Order (EEO). This document ensures that any undisputed judgement dated after 10 October 2005 can be executed without further proceedings in the country where the debtor is presently located. The costs for this amount to €111.00 and are not recovered from the debtor.
One exception from the above procedure is a claim ensuing from a notarial deed, such as a mortgage deed for example. The notary before whom the deed was originally executed can designate the deed as a first authenticated copy. No procedure then needs to be carried out and the claim can be executed based on the first authenticated copy of the mortgage deed.
The judgement, or the enforcement order, is always first served on the debtor, whereby the debtor is given two days to meet his obligations. If payment remains outstanding, the judgement can be executed. The most common means in the Netherlands are repossession of the real estate, attachment of bank accounts and attachment of income. On repossessing real estate, it is important that a list be drawn up of the items seized, but the court bailiff does not take them with him immediately. The bailiff can only take cars and animals (pets) with him immediately on execution.
Attachment of bank balances is a snapshot situation. On execution, the time is noted on the warrant. All credit balances on the bank account at that moment fall under the execution; all monies that were on or paid into the account before or after that moment do not fall under the execution. Income attachment is a periodic attachment. After attachment, a certain amount every month is paid to the bailiff by the employer or any social security unit paying benefits.
If there are several parties serving attachment, the money seized is distributed by the oldest party to the other parties.
In the Netherlands, the court bailiff has access to various registers. From the point of view of effectiveness, though, he cannot obtain information just like that.
- The population register - Can only be consulted for the purpose of taking official action. Once consulted, a warrant has to be issued within two weeks. The information in the population register is valid only for two weeks.
- Chamber of Commerce - Public register
- Debt recovery information - Information is requested from external partners against a charge
- GGN Database - Inherent information about the debtor may not be shared due to privacy regulations. We may, though, issue advice about the likelihood of collection based on information known to us.
- UWV - Social security institution. Only possible to consult once a judgement has been handed down. Contains information about the debtor’s source of income
- RDW - Vehicle and driver licensing authority. Only possible to consult once a judgement has been handed down. Contains vehicle information.
- Land registry - Only possible to consult once a judgement has been handed down. Contains land register and mortgage information about registered real estate.
Leximpact is a French network of bailiffs, consisting of 110 colleagues who aspire to deliver an optimal service. The commissions are spread by their electronic system depoactes. A commission can be sent directly to the competent colleague.
For more information, visit our website www.leximpact.net