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High Court Writ of Control and Warrant of Control 

A Writ of Control and Warrant of Control are both parts of a process creditors use to try and retrieve monies they are owed from their debtors. Both a writ and a warrant enable Enforcement Officers to legally enter a property and take goods on behalf of the creditor.

What is a warrant of control?

A Warrant of Control authorises an enforcement agent to go to the debtor’s address to collect any money owed, or alternatively, to remove goods from the address to sell at auction. Enforcement agents are limited to the kinds of goods which they can remove. They are not permitted to remove any goods which are essential for the debtor to carry out their trade, or any items which would prevent them from enjoying a basic standard of living.

Warrants of Control are unable to be issued for debts of over £5,000. The only exception to this is when an agreement which was made under the 1974 Consumer Credit Act, is being enforced. If the debt is over, the creditor is unable to make an application to the County Court. Instead, an application must be made to the High Court.

What’s a High Court Writ of Control?

A High Court Writ is a formal order written by the High Court on behalf of creditors. It requests that they receive the debts they’re owed and the writ allows the removal and potential sale of the debtors goods, if the debt is not repaid.

When a debt exceeds £5,000, the creditor must apply to the High Court rather than the County Court of execution. In this case, it will no longer be a Warrant of Control but will become a Writ of Control (or a Writ of Execution). This will be executed by a HCEO (High Court Enforcement Officer).

What’s the difference?

The key difference between a Writ of Control and a Warrant of Control, is that creditors seeking a debt worth over £5,000 must apply to the High Court for a Writ of Control. Any debts below £5,000 will be applied for through the County Court, who grant Warrants of Control. Essentially a High Court Enforcement Officer will only perform duties when executing a Writ of Control, whereas a County Court Officer would act on a Warrant of Control.

warrant of control

Have you received one?

If you’ve received either a Warrant or Writ of Control from Enforcement Officers, it effectively means that after following the correct process, bailiffs can legally enter your property and take your assets to pay the debts you owe. At this point, there are still options available to you.

Alternatively, there is the option to complete an N245 application which can effectively suspend the Warrant of Control. Although this is a difficult process to complete and the Courts are unlikely to accept one, unless there is a very good reason.

  • Pay off the whole debt. Although, it’s important to remember that at this point Enforcement Officers will add their charges to your debt.
  • If you cannot pay off the whole debt, try to arrange a repayment plan. Include as much detail as possible and ensure you comply to pay the agreed sums on time. There are formal repayment plans available, such as a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), but this must be agreed to by your creditors.
  • If an arrangement cannot be made, a ‘’stay of execution’’ can be applied for. It is a last option though as it is hard to justify being granted for one. If you are granted, your writ will be paused so you can sort out your matters – however, this comes with an additional charge.

In summary

A Warrant of Control and a Writ of Control are part of a process that creditors follow, which enables Enforcement Officers to collect unpaid debts on their behalf. Any debts in excess of £5,000 must be applied to through the High Court, which enables creditors to get a Writ of Control. A Warrant of Control is applied through the County Court, but these are for debts under £5,000.

How we can help

If you’re worried you could receive a visit from Enforcement Officers with either a Writ of Control or a Warrant of Control, or you already have done, then it’s vital to act quickly. Having a visit from Enforcement Officers can be an intimidating experience, so knowing your rights and the options available, will put you in the best position moving forward.

Beverley Horton

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