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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: warrants of execution: warrants of execution

In most cases of civil debt, warrants of execution are the most effective and frequently used method of enforcement. Where the judgment debtor has sufficient goods, you will normally find it easiest to enforce the judgment by warrant of execution.

Although a ‘warrant of execution’ is the correct legal term, it is often referred to as an ‘execution warrant’ and the abbreviation ‘EW’ is frequently used.

A warrant can be issued either

  • for the whole amount of the judgment debt and court fees where payment was ordered in one sum, or
  • where an instalment order has been made and the judgment debtor is in arrears, you may issue the warrant for all or part of the debt.(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

A warrant of execution instructs the court bailiff to

  • call at the judgment debtor’s residence, business premises or wherever the judgment debtor’s goods may be found
  • remove and sell sufficient of those goods at auction to satisfy the amount of the warrant and the cost of removal and sale.

The fee for applying for a warrant of execution is recoverable from the judgment debtor with the judgment debt.

Duration of warrant of execution

A warrant remains in force for one year from the date of issue. If the court bailiff has been unable to execute it within that period or it has been suspended, and you still feel that there is a good chance of the warrant being executed, you must apply in writing, at least 14 days before the date of expiry, to the court manager for the warrant to be renewed. No fee is payable. The warrant will retain the original warrant number following reissue.

If you fail to apply before the warrant expires, you will have to write off the original court fee, issue a fresh warrant and pay another fee.

Whilst the court bailiff is executing the warrant, the court will send you a Bailiff’s Report (form N317) at the end of every month advising you of its progress.

CCBC cases

You can issue a warrant of execution through the CCBC, though it is the local court that executes the warrant.