Enforcement Set to Resume
Following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday 23rd March 2020 and subsequent instructions from the Ministry of Justice, attendances by our enforcement agents were suspended.
On the 25th April 2020 new legislation in the form of The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 came into force further clarifying matters. It meant there could be no enforcement at premises which included a residential dwelling.
On 19th June, the Government passed the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (No. 2) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 amending regulations 10 and 23 of The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. This gave an end date to these emergency period restrictions. Effectively, enforcement would be permitted from 24th August 2020.
Transfer up and notices of enforcement
In recent times the courts and the MOJ have cracked down on ‘queue jumping’ with regard to writs of control. As legislation intended the earliest writ of control will take precedence. To ensure your writ will have the best chance of sitting first in the queue ahead of any other writs isuued against the same debtor, we would encourage you to instruct us to transfer your judgments to writs of control without delay.
We have seen an increase in new instructions from clients so it is possible the priority of writs will become an additional factor in the efficiency of enforcement., Probably more so with commercial debtors who may well have a number of creditors.
Working closely with the good folk of Prestatyn High Court our applications for writs of control are currently being processed by them within 48 hours – despite the difficulties posed by covid-19.
Upon receipt of the sealed writ we have been issuing Notices of Enforcement throughout lockdown.
Proserve will be fully compliant fully with the post-lockdown plan issued by the HCEOA on 28th May 2020. We believe it to be the best template for all forms of enforcement.
Of course some judgment debtors will be experiencing more detrimental effects than others because of the COVID-19 situation in relation to all manner of things from reduced income to the need to isolate etc. Proserve already apply case-by-case consideration to an individual’s circumstances. We have always taken account of genuine vulnerability and believe that our existing processes will stand us in good stead. We will continue to refer those individuals considered appropriate to debt advice agencies.
Visits will, wherever possible be contactless in line with HCEOA safe working practices guidance. Appropriate social distancing measures will be observed and our enforcement agents have been provided with appropriate PPE to use during attendances.
We will not enter premises or take control of goods where we are notified that any individual living at that address has coronavirus or is isolating.
Where payment cannot be made in full, we will seek to enter into controlled goods agreements and/or make arrangements to pay at Enforcement Stage 1 in order to keep fees to a minimum.
Where payment is not forthcoming and a c.g.a. is refused, we will proceed to take control of goods.
Where enforcement activity began before lockdown, we have continued to try and contact in advance of any further enforcement visits. All debtors with whom we do not have a payment agreement in place have been sent an indusrty approved re-engagement letter.
It is hoped that these steps will give struggling debtors the chance for engagement with us before the need for the attendance of an enforcement agent and additional fees being added to the outstanding debt.
All our enforcement agents have undertaken additional, mandatory industry approved training. In addition to this further training by both a fully qualified social worker and disability rights expert prior to any recommencement of visits will be undertaken.
This will include how to identify any vulnerabilities or changes in circumstances.
Training will also be given regarding the effective use of PPE and social distancing requirements as well as how to protect themselves and people they encounter in the wider community.