Judges Demand

Bailiffs/HCEO Against Companies

Published On: 10th October 2013

Who to issue against?

Limited companies are their own legal entities, so any claim against the business would need to be issued against the limited company and not the directors or any other individuals working in the business.

The only exception is if you have been given a personal guarantee by the directors. If you do have a personal guarantees, you will need to issue against the company and the directors.

Claims should always be issued against the registered limited company name, rather than a “trading as” name. This is more important when issuing against restaurants, where the trading name can change quite frequently.

Are they solvent or insolvent?

First thing to do before issuing a claim is to check their legal and solvency status. You may be wasting your time chasing a business that no longer exists or has just gone into liquidation or administration.

It is worthwhile to keep checking these facts throughout the process. Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers cannot enforce against a company in liquidation or administration.

Has the company changed name?

Some companies will shut down and re-open as a new business to avoid liability for their debts. If this has happened, Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers will be able to seize any assets from the new business.

However, Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers do check that the sale has been completed, including payment made, before the date of seizure. If all paperwork has not be completed or payment has not been received to complete the sale then these assets can be seized.

If a business changes its name but has the same company registration number, then it is still the same company that would be pursued.

Address for enforcement?

Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers can enforce anywhere in England or Wales. They can attend the registered office address, the trading address, branches, warehouses, also third party addresses as long as there are goods belonging to the debtor at that address.

The majority of judgments will have the registered address of the company, but often these can be accountants offices and there would be no assets for the debtor at that address. When instructing Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers it is imperative to provide them with all trading addresses and other locations where there may be assets.


Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers can force entry into commercial premises, normally by changing the locks.

Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers can also enforce against a limited company that is based from home but in this case they may not force entry and cannot take any assets that belong any of the individual residents. If the Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers believes they belong to the company, he can seize them and the debtor will have five days to prove they are owned by a resident.