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Courts Act 2003

Register of judgments etc. and execution of writs
Section 98: Register of Judgments and order etc.

345.A new register is set up by this provision to replace the county court register under sections 73 and 73A of the CCA 1984. The new register expands the scope of the previous register, which was only concerned with county court judgments and orders.

346.The new register is designed to incorporate judgments of the High Court and criminal court fines. This will bring defaults from all the civil and criminal courts under one register. In the case of civil proceedings all judgments and orders will be registered unless an exception applies. In the criminal courts only certain cases, decided on an individual basis, will be registered. The provision allows for the register to be kept in house or contracted out.

Section 99: High Court writs of execution

347.This section will relieve High Sheriffs (being unpaid volunteers, appointed annually) of their legal obligations in connection with the enforcement of High Court judgments. The existing competence and probity of those actively engaged in High Court enforcement, currently in the names of the Sheriffs, will be maintained.

348.The High Court will continue to issue writs of execution - that is, in summary, writs for the enforcement of judgment debts, and writs to enforce judgments for the possession of land. England and Wales will be divided into enforcement districts defined by the Lord Chancellor. There will be a number of individuals authorised as High Court enforcement officers, either by the Lord Chancellor or by someone acting on his behalf. The Lord Chancellor (or his delegate) will assign at least one authorised enforcement officer to every district.

349.The existing jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to writs of execution will not be removed. But these provisions will give the High Court a new, efficient and adaptable tool to enforce its judgments.

Schedule 7: High Court writs of execution

350.Schedule 7 gives High Court enforcement officers the same obligations and powers that sheriffs have under common law. The Lord Chancellor or his delegate must approve arrangements for the allocation of a writ where more than one enforcement officer could be obliged to execute it. In practice, those arrangements are likely to be based closely on the existing administrative arrangements under which writs directed to sheriffs can be delivered to a single address in central London from which they are distributed. The constable’s duty to assist an enforcement officer, adopts and brings up to date the comparable provision that applies to sheriffs under section 8 of the Sheriffs Act 1887.

351.Paragraphs 6 to 11 make the same provision, with the amendments needed to include enforcement officers, as sections 138, 138A and 138B of the SCA 1981, which the Act will omit. The Act will, by consequential amendments under Schedule 8, make it a criminal offence to obstruct a High Court enforcement officer who is executing a writ.

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