§ Baroness Gould of Potternewton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have to review the enforcement of civil court judgments. [HL1106]
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
I have directed that a comprehensive review of enforcement of civil court judgments be carried out. Its primary purpose will be to address public concern about the effectiveness of the present arrangements in enabling plaintiffs to enforce civil court judgments. The review will also continue the task, within the civil justice reform programme, of unifying the Rules of Court as between the High Court and county court.244WA
The terms of reference of the review are as follows:
To examine the present methods available for enforcement of county court and High Court judgments, to assess their effectiveness, identify the reasons for any ineffectiveness, to identify what changes would be necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the current methods of enforcement; and to make costed recommendations;
To examine the information, advice and assistance currently available to creditors and debtors, to identify what changes would be necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the current methods of enforcement; and to make costed recommendations;
To review the powers of bailiffs (county court and private sector) to determine what changes to their powers would be needed to enhance the effective enforcement of civil court judgments and to increase uniformity; and to make costed recommendations;
To consider what amendment is needed for the successful implementation of Section 13 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990; and to make costed recommendations;
To consider whether, and if so how, the present power to distrain for rent should be abolished (as recommended by the Law Commission); and to make costed recommendations;
To identify, in the light of the amended procedures and revised powers of bailiffs, the type of agent(s) or form of agency which should be responsible for carrying out those enforcement procedures: and to make costed recommendations;
To implement those recommendations accepted by the Lord Chancellor (including the production of a unified set of Rules of Court for enforcement): and
To gather the necessary data to make comparisons between the current and revised methods of enforcement and to evaluate the effectiveness of the project.
The review will commence in April 1998. The first changes resulting from the review should come into effect in the courts in November 2001.