Results of the survey on amending the jurisdiction order

This summer we surveyed our clients to ask whether they feel the High Court & County Court Jurisdiction Order 1991 should be amended to allow claimants the choice of enforcement provider, whether a county court bailiff (CCB) or a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

This survey follows two previous surveys on the same subject, one by the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) in October 2015 and the other by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in 2012 as part of the Transforming Bailiff Action Consultation of 2012, where respondents were very supportive of a change.

The current legislation

Article 8(1)(a) of the High Court & County Court Jurisdiction Order 1991 states that cases under £600 or regulated under a consumer credit agreement should be enforced in the county court by a CCB, and only judgments over £600 and not subject to consumer credit regulation may be voluntarily transferred to the High Court for enforcement by an HCEO.

The results

107 participated in the survey and all participants answered all questions. The survey showed that support for a change to the jurisdiction order continues to remain strong:

  • 87.9% - would consider using HCEOs to enforce consumer regulated judgments (HCEOA survey: 92.17%)
  • 93.5% - see no justification for maintaining a distinction between consumer regulated and non-regulated judgments (HCEOA survey: 89.12%)
  • 89.7% - support a change to the jurisdiction order to allow HCEOs to enforce consumer regulated judgments (HCEOA survey: 87.89%)
  • 88.8% - support allowing HCEOs to enforce judgments below £600 (question not asked in the HCEOA survey)

Civil Courts Justice Review

In his review, Lord Justice Briggs acknowledges that judgment creditors participating in the consultation were definitely in favour of HCEOs because “… they are both much speedier and more effective modes of enforcement, compared with the under-funded, under-staffed and under-motivated County Court bailiffs.”

He concurs that the county court model is “… gravely afflicted in its quality by delays and under-performance.”

Next steps

We would like to thank all who took part and encourage readers of this report to contact the Ministry of Justice to request a review of the jurisdiction order.

You can download the report from the link below.

COVID-19 updates for debtors

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