What do you do when you are awarded money in the County Courts but the debtor still won't pay? You call in The Sheriffs, of course.
After attracting 25% of all viewers in March 2012, the BBC commissioned a second series of The Sheriffs Are Coming. The new fifteen-part series will air daily on BBC One at 11.00am, from Monday 14th January concluding on Friday 1st February.
Each 45-minute programme follows High Court Enforcement Officers, often known as "Sheriffs", as they travel across the country attempting to recover debts on behalf of their clients, individuals and business owners who have won judgments against third parties but have been unable to retrieve any of the money awarded to them.
After transferring their judgments to the High Court for enforcement, they've turned to Croydon-based Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers, The Sheriffs Office, to get them their money back.
The debtors range from rogue traders right up to well-known multinational corporations. Most are reluctant to pay up despite their legal requirement to do so, and the Sheriffs have to employ a number of tactics to get the debt paid.
Armed only with a High Court writ and chip and pin machine, the Sheriffs often travel in teams of two as not all debtors are pleased to see them. If payment isn't forthcoming they have the authority to seize goods, cars, jewellery, or any other asset of value. Frequently they'll get their money, but not before some difficult confrontations.
Week one programme highlights include:
Brian, one of the country's best and fastest sheep shearers, was employed by a neighbouring farmer to shear 3000 sheep. After waiting three months for payment, Brian got a Court Judgment and put the Sheriffs on the case, but would they have to seize 3000 sheep?
Elderly Mrs Parton wanted a new driveway and paid a builder upfront out of her life savings. Then an independent surveyor told her it all needed taking up and redoing. So Mrs Parton decided to take the builder to court to cover the costs of having it completely re-laid. She won her case, got a High Court writ and asked the Sheriffs to help.
Self-employed bricklayer Adrian thought he had found the perfect car at a garage in Portsmouth, but the car turned out to have multiple problems and would have failed an MOT. The garage disagreed, so Adrian went to court. When the Sheriffs arrived, they saw a mysterious man slipping out at the back!
The role of High Court enforcement
David Carter, Joint Managing Director of The Sheriffs Office says:
"People assume that winning a judgment against a debtor automatically means they will get paid what they're owed. They've been awarded their judgments fair and square in the Courts and our job is to make sure that these are enforced and our clients are given back what they are owed."