Shergroup welcomes Government major milestone on debt
The Governments hardening approach to debt recovery and its new get tough approach to people who do not pay court-enforced fines has been welcomed as a major milestone by the Chief Executive of the UKs largest High Court Enforcement Agency, Shergroup.
In a written ministerial statement from Justice Minister Jack Straw, plans are set out to make certain High Court Enforcement Officers Association can develop a service whereby creditors will be able to commission a High Court Enforcement Officer to enforce their award or settlement as soon as the respondent fails to pay the sum due.
The costs of enforcement will be recoverable from the respondent with limited cost liability for the creditor.
The announcement comes after the Chief Executive Officer of Shergroup, Claire Sandbrook, held top-level talks with Citizens Advice officials who wanted to highlight a gap in enforcement provision when people had won their Employment Tribunal hearing.
Mrs Sandbrook, who is also Chair of the UK's High Court Enforcement Officers Association, says: We fully endorse the Governments new-found determination to ensure that individuals who are entitled to their Employment Tribunal awards or ACAS settlements are not denied access to justice by a small minority of unscrupulous individuals or companies who refuse to respect the Tribunals award.
These changes mark a major milestone for High Court Enforcement Officers, in recognizing that as a national agency we can help the traditional creditor as well as others types of litigant who engage in the judicial process and come out of that process with a judgment that needs to be paid.
It seemed to us highly unfair that employees who had been successful in winning compensation against their former employer should be denied the very essence of justice in not securing payment.
Much is written in these difficult times about vulnerable people in financial straits, and so I applaud the initiative of the CAB to recognize that people who have won a decision from the court are just as vulnerable if the enforcement system lets them down and they cant secure payment. Along with my HCEO colleagues we are looking forward to working with Ministry officials to demonstrate that these types of cases can have successful outcomes and that people with Awards can find justice in the court system. To us it represents the first positive signal for sometime that the Government wants to get tough on making people aware that consequences will flow if the order of the court is ignored.
Of course HCEOs see all types of situation, but where an employer is trading and has assets, this is exactly the type of situation where if payment is not forthcoming the employer can expect assets to be removed and sold if the courts order is not obeyed. It is the job of the HCEO to do that in accordance with the law, and at the command of the court. We do take those responsibilities extremely seriously.