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HCEO collecting outstanding boarding school fees has levied in my absence


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Hi all,

 

Been reading around this subject for the last few days and i have to say, it's been an amazing help. I've got an issue ongoing at the moment that i could really use some help with as i'm getting confused with conflicting advise from different threads. Here is my situation: On monday 06 Dec i received a hand delivered letter through the door stamped on the front with 'High Court Enforcement' and with my name on it. Inside are two papers: one 'Take Formal Notice' on headed paper fron High Court Enforcement Group stating that i owe a debt of some £13k and that i have until 11 Dec before the Officer comes back. This debt is from a private school who are claiming i owe them outstanding fees - long story, the childs mother and i have divorced etc. It contains all the usual about telephoning the bailiff, seizure, executing warrant etc. The next is a yellow carbon copy, again with High Court Enforcement Group logo at the head, which is entitled 'Notice of Seizure and Inventory'. It lists costs as follows:

a. Judgement Debt - £10568.64

b. Judgment costs including statutory fees - £1,479.38

c. Accrued Interest - £922.75

d. Additional interest at £2.32 per day - £2.32

e. Walking Possession accrues at 29p per day - 29p

f. Additional attendance/removal costs - £240.88

g. Total due as at today - £13,214.26

 

There is then an inventroy where hand written are two items that were outside 1. my current wifes car. 2. my fathers ancient caravan. and printed underneath states ".....together with all goods, assetts, and chattels to satisfy this High Court Writ and all costs."

Underneath this is the title "Form of Walking Possession Agreement Schedule 4, Reg 13, Courts act 2003" which has a space for my signature at the bottom - i have not signed. It has the enforcement officers name and telephone number on also - hand written in capitals. On the reverse of this yello carbon copy are a list of "Take Notice That" points. And that is it. It was delivered when nobody was in the house and i am awaiting his return.

On the Tues after receiving this i took the day off work and contacted the National Debt Helpline for advice who said not to let the bailiff in at all costs and to write to the bailiff company explaining the goods belong to a third party and therefore the levy is invalid. I did this and sent it first class recorded to the company threatening complaint to my local councillor and the HCEO Association should they choose to ignore my letter. I also told them of my wife being pregnant, and that she has suffered long term depression after a miscarriage some time ago - vulnerable person. It's now nearly 1400hrs on 11 Dec and no-one has shown. I'm at home waiting for the bailiff to come so i can speak with him personally. I have removed the car he levied on but have left the caravan in the garden where it was.

I have spent the last few days taking advice on this situation and it seems i may be better off, due to other significant credit card debts etc..., petitioning for bankruptcy.

Could someone talk me through how to deal with this guy from the very basics.

1) Have i done the right thing so far in moving the car that belongs to my wife and in writing to the bailiff company?

2) what should i be asking to see when/if the bailiff comes by way of paperwork/evidence etc?

3) Is the levy invalid? How can there be a walking possession agreement when i wasn't there to 'agree' by signing? surely once the bailiff has departed without the goods they are freed from his legal custody - no one was left i.e. closed possession, and the goods have not been removed.

4) what should i do next?

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated. My wife knows about this and we're keeping pretty relaxed about it all as, even if the bailiff got in the house, we really have nothing of any value. The bailiff wouldn't even be able to satisfy 10% of the debt by seizing all our goods and car, and we rent our house, My wife has owned the car that has been levied from before we got married, she's the registered keeper, and my dad can prove he owns the caravan.

 

I was aware of the original county judgement concerning this debt but only because my ex wife told me about it when she received the paperwork for her. I had moved since leaving the Army last year and so never received the original CCJ. We are boh jointly liable for this debt, of that i am positive. When she received the original CCJ to her then address, she took out an IVA due to other debts and included this debt with the rest. I (wrongfully) assumed the matter to be dealt with and that they would not chase me for the debt because my ex was now paying into an IVA within which this debt was included - or so she told me. Thing is, she moved recently to start a new job and could have stoppped paying the IVA - it wouldn't be unilke her! So i guess my questions are:

1) can they chase me for this debt even though my ex wife has had this debt included in her IVA? or would they still expect payment from me anyway due to being divorced?

2) Let's assume she has stopped paying the IVA, would that give cause for this debt to be revived? and would we both still be liable?

 

Sorry it's so long winded. I haven't spoken to my ex about it yet - we don't exactly get on although remain in contact as we have kids who live with me now.

Many thanks to you all for any help in advance.

Edited by james2216
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Wow that's an awful lot going on. I assume by now you have not seen any sign of the HCEO, tomorrow is Sunday and a day off for him, he could be back first thing Monday though. Let's deal with him first.

 

The paperwork you have at present appears to be correct. He is allowed to assume the goods are yours and you have done correct in informing them otherwise. Your local Councillor will not be able to help as this is a private matter of no concern to the Council. A complaint to the HCOA will result in them siding with Company - after all they pay their support costs, all enforcement Trade Associations are self funded. When you wrote did you also enclose proof of ownership?

 

Most HCEO charges can be challenged. He can only charge you Walking Possession Fees if you signed his paperwork, however if you don't sign he could remove goods immediately. For now the levy he has made is till valid until they acknowledge third party claims. If & when he does reattend then the most important thing is not to allow him entry under any circumstances.

 

I note your comments about the original CCJ, it sounds as if you both were summonsed individually as you would have been jointly liable for the debt, this means they can go after either or both of you for the monies owing. If you never received your paperwork you could have grounds for applying for Set Aside, this has the effect of taking the Claim back to the beginning but as your ex seems to have known about hers and you appear to have no means to at least partially settle the debt the chances are it will not succeed. You really need copies of the Judgment from the Court. This may explain why they are chasing you and not her as if she has included this with her IVA she will be protected - you will need to confirm at stage she is at regarding her IVA.

 

Over this weekend you need to go to the HMCS website and download a copy of Form N244 and on this you apply for a Stay of Execution against the High Court Writ, the reasons being you have no visble means of paying this debt. You take this Form to your local County Court in person and explain its urgency. A Judge can usually be found who can hear your application immediately, if granted you inform HCE ASAP afterwards promising to send a copy of the Order when it arrives. This ceases all HCEO action and charges until a date to be decided, you can also apply for Variation of CCJ on Form N245 which you could submit at the same time and make an offer of payment - £5 per month perhaps. Fees are payable for the applications but if on Benefits or Low Wage then use Form EX160 for Fee Remission. I can help with the Forms, they look complicated but are actually quite easy.

 

I've probably forgotten to say a pile of stuff so if you have questions then I'll do my best to answer, although I am tied up until teatime tomorrow.

 

PT

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ive just had a touch of De ja vannot find it at presentue ..

 

It must be catching seanamart as I have vague memories of a similar thread that seemed to give another side to the same situation, still looking but cannot find that post at the moment.

 

Wonkey

Edited by wonkeydonkey
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a. Judgement Debt - £10568.64

g. Total due as at today - £13,214.26

 

The HCEO is most probably exaggeraring his costs. See Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. The law says what an HCEO can charge as his fees. Schedule 3 of Regulation 13 of The High Court Enforcement Officers Regulations 2004.

 

Where the sum due is £100 or less - 5% of judgment debt

Above £100 - 2.5% of judgement debt

Nothing else because WP and levy are not valid, goods are not yours.

 

Theres no Reg 12 miscellanous fees unless he holds an order by a court or a Master authorising any misc costs, if none, then see Section 40 (2)© of the Administration of Justice Act 1970, You might want to contact police, but dont expect them to show much entheusiasm at the prospect of charging an HCEO with defrauding you with his fees. Escalate complaint to the IPCC if you get lip service.

 

1) Have i done the right thing so far in moving the car that belongs to my wife and in writing to the bailiff company?

2) what should i be asking to see when/if the bailiff comes by way of paperwork/evidence etc?

3) Is the levy invalid? How can there be a walking possession agreement when i wasn't there to 'agree' by signing? surely once the bailiff has departed without the goods they are freed from his legal custody - no one was left i.e. closed possession, and the goods have not been removed.

4) what should i do next?

 

1. No, you dont need to move the car, and no, you dont need to write to the HCEO or tell him anything. There is no law requiring to trade with an HCEO, and the goods are your wife's. If an HCEO takes them then he attracts a charge for replacing them like-for-like or from new if like-for-like goods are not immediately available. Theres no such thing as betterment in replacing property following an invalid levy, this is not an insurable loss and there is no contract between you or your wife and the HCEO.

 

2. No, its the HCEO's problem.

 

3. Invalid if the goods are not yours, you dont need to tell him anything and video capture everything he says to you on your mobile. photograph is vehicle registration.

 

4. Find out if the debt was nullified by your wifes IVA, if yes then advise the HCEO to contact your wife's IVA practitioner. If you received no notice of judgment or final notice, or they were sent to a wrong address, contact the originating court and make an application to have the original jusgement set aside using Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978. You might need to speak to someone more proficient in high court procedure if the originating court cannot do this. If the court cannot accept an application to set aside the order because its been transferred up to high court unilaterally and without your foreknowledge, then you can discregard the whole liability under Section 1 of the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971 on failure to follow correct civil claims procedure.

 

If the debt is genuine, speak to the orioginating creditor and reach a settlement, even if its £5 a week.

 

1) can they chase me for this debt even though my ex wife has had this debt included in her IVA? or would they still expect payment from me anyway due to being divorced?

2) Let's assume she has stopped paying the IVA, would that give cause for this debt to be revived? and would we both still be liable?

 

1. No, but if an HCEO contacts you again then tell him to contact your wife IVA practitioner, call police if he treatens you and video capture everything.

 

2. No, the IVA is binding and nullifies liability on all declared debts, but make an enquiry in the debt forums to confirm, there a moderator sequenci who is well clued on this kind of stuff. Debts older than 6 years are unenforceable, Section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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