Presented with a High Court Writ

Writs of Execution are issued by the High Court on behalf of creditors to reclaim the money owed to them. Now, what choices does a company have?


What are my options when presented with a High Court Writ?

The High Court issues Writs of Execution for creditors to retrieve owed money. A prevalent type is the Writ of Control, enabling High Court Enforcement Officers, commonly called bailiffs, to seize and sell the debtor’s belongings. This is usually a final option for creditors, yet it proves effective in securing their funds.

If you receive a High Court Writ through a Notice of Enforcement, you possess several options. Typically, you have seven working days to halt the process and avoid a visit from a bailiff.

The optimal approach is settling the entire debt. Yet, bailiffs tack on their own fees, causing your owed amount to rise. If full payment isn’t feasible, are there quick cash-raising options? Perhaps selling assets or pursuing overdue payments could be considered.


What should I do if I find it tough to pay my debt?

If settling the debt all at once is challenging, negotiating an instalment plan might be possible. This arrangement can be made before a bailiff’s visit. Reach out to both your creditor and the bailiff’s office to discuss and formalise the plan. Share the details in writing, and it’s advisable to enclose a copy of your budget.

  • Commence payments promptly, even before a formal plan is agreed, to demonstrate your commitment to resolving the matter. 
  • Ensure you obtain a receipt for each payment. 
  • Adherence to the agreed plan is crucial. 
  • In case of missing payments, consider granting the bailiff the right to seize goods equal to the debt’s value, selling them at auction.
  • After visiting, additional fees will be incurred, making it advisable to avoid a visit whenever possible.


If your plan is declined, reassess your budget and make another attempt. If unable to reach a payment agreement, you might consider applying to the court for a ‘stay of execution.’ A valid reason is necessary for approval, but if granted, it halts the enforcement of the writ. There is a court fee involved, but it provides you with time to organise your affairs.

Yet, if you can’t secure a stay of execution and fail to reach a payment agreement, a bailiff will visit your premises. Writs typically have a defined timeframe, usually twelve months, but anticipate a visit sooner rather than later.

 If the Writ is directed at your company, bailiffs can visit your premises and have the legal authority to forcibly enter your commercial space. Even if they do visit, it’s not necessarily too late. There may still be an opportunity to negotiate payment before they seize any of your assets.


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Senior Partner at Vanguard Insolvency Practitioners | Website | + posts

I am an insolvency professional with a distinguished career specialising in commercial insolvency, adeptly navigating Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, Company Voluntary Arrangements, and Company Administrations. With a comprehensive understanding of insolvency laws and an unwavering commitment to ethical practices.