The High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) has welcomed the Lord Chancellor’s latest clarification on entering residential properties in the context of the new Local Covid Alert Level system.

The Lord Chancellor has confirmed that HCEOs should instruct enforcement agents “not to enter residential properties in areas that are classed as Local Alert Level 2 (high) or 3 (very high), for the purposes of enforcement including taking control of goods and carrying out evictions.”

Under the new Local Covid Alert Level system, all local authority areas in England are classed as being in Local Alert Level Tier 1 (medium risk) Tier 2 (high risk) or Tier 3 (very high risk).

The Lord Chancellor also thanked the Association for confirming that 100% of its members had backed his previous request not to carry out residential evictions:

  • in areas where local lockdown restrictions have placed restrictions on gatherings in residential properties and
  • anywhere in England and Wales over the Christmas period from 11 December 2020 until 11 January 2021.

Andrew Wilson, Chairman of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, said: “This is in line with the interpretation of the guidance that our members had already taken, but it is very useful to have it confirmed in writing from the Lord Chancellor.”

“We have published a post-lockdown plan to ensure a flexible and sympathetic approach to enforcement and will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Justice as the situation changes moving forward.”

Andrew was responding to new details published in a letter from the Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP, who is Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, to the Association.

The High Court Enforcement Officers Association represents members across England and Wales, who received over 120,335 Writs in 2019 collecting just under £116m in outstanding judgment debt on behalf of creditors.

The HCEOA’s post-lockdown plan is called “A Flexible and Sympathetic Approach to Enforcement.” It sets out the principles, working practices and behaviours that all High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO’s) and their representatives will follow throughout the phased lifting of the lockdown period.

High Court enforcement activity is being undertaken in an appropriate, flexible and sensitive manner that reflects the challenges we are all facing as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association has developed a best practice Covid-19 plan.

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