The entire court system across England and Wales has come under increasing pressure as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Modernisation and reform is inevitable to enable the courts to function, and the High Court system is no exception to this.
We fully support this reform and are making the case to government for change in a number of specific areas that will ease the pressure on those working in the court system and enable more choice for creditors when it comes to enforcing the collection of their debts.
- Expanding options for creditors to use High Court enforcement to collect unpaid debts more effectively – currently, High Court enforcement can only be used to collect unregulated debts in excess of £600. However, there is a huge backlog of County Court Judgments for debts under £600 which is causing a major issue for those businesses, organisations and individuals (creditors) who are owed this money.
We are calling on government to allow these creditors to appoint High Court Enforcement Officers to recover unregulated debts that are less than £600 if they wish to use the services of our members. We know that many creditors are keen to use our members’ services, and we know that our members can provide a high-quality service to them that is regulated by the courts.
- Lobby for greater regulation of the common law eviction process which is now very outdated. The courts have very little powers to supervise common law eviction. Greater regulation such as the requirement that enforcement must take place using a certificated Enforcement Agent will mean that the eviction process will fall under the control of the courts. This will result in a more regulated enforcement process, where complaints can be investigated by the courts and penalties enforced for poor behaviour.
- Encourage government to fast-track the modernisation of the court system. The Government’s modernisation programme for the entire court system was advancing well with input from bodies like us and others before it was put on hold as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. We understand the challenges government is facing and that priorities are elsewhere, but we think that introducing and fast-tracking this modernisation process will provide much needed relief for the court system.
Fast-tracking this modernisation programme will improve creditors access to justice, help them recover desperately needed money owed, and provide improvements to the courts through less time needed handling processes that can be automated which will ultimately save time and cost