Many more litigants in person are now using Money Claim Online (MCOL) to pursue debt actions. In his proposed reforms, Lord Justice Briggs is working towards making it easier for litigants in person to use the court system. If Lord Justice Briggs' reforms are put into practice, it is likely that the number of users of MCOL will increase further.
However, litigants are somewhat left in the dark regarding a crucial element of enforcement. MCOL does not give users the option to use High Court enforcement and instead users apply for a warrant of execution and instruct County Court Bailiffs, as suggested by MCOL.
A warrant of execution allows County Court Bailiffs to attend the Defendant's property with the objective of seizing their goods to sell them towards the debt. It is a misconception that High Court Enforcement Officers can then use the same warrant.
Users should therefore avoid the common misunderstanding that it is possible to 'try' County Court Bailiffs and, if unsuccessful, they can turn to a high Court Enforcement Officer to enforce the debt using the same warrant. This is not the case. In order to instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer, the matter must be transferred up to the High Court where a writ of control is issued which is different to the warrant of execution.
It is important that these different options of enforcement are explained clearly to users of MCOL to enable them to make an informed choice as to which route to pursue in their particular circumstances.
Providing this guidance to users will ensure greater clarity on the enforcement process and in turn will go some way in ensuring Claimants have greater access to justice.
At Clapham & Collinge we have a dedicated team of litigation experts who are able to provide you with all of the necessary information, support and legal advice, on methods of enforcement and how they affect you or your business. For more information, contact our Norwich branch on 01603 693500 or email us directly using the 'make an enquiry' form.
For more information on Clapham and Collinge Business Services, which include Debt Recovery and Litigation please see our dedicated webpage following this link.