High Court action

Claims for money in the High Court

If you have a credit agreement that is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974, your creditor has to make a claim against you in the county court. They cannot apply to enforce the county-court judgment in the High Court.

County-court action

The High Court is most likely to be used by creditors for claims over £25,000, to recover debts that are not regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.


The creditor has to show why the case should be heard in the High Court, for example because:

  • it is for a large amount and there is a significant dispute;
  • the case is complex; or
  • the result could be very important to the public.

Enforcing a county-court judgment in the High Court

If a creditor has a county-court judgment against you, they may be able to enforce it in the High Court by using a special type of bailiff called High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs). The following types of creditor may do this.
  • Business and trade creditors (for example, suppliers).
  • Unpaid nursery fees.
  • Funeral charges.
  • Some water companies. 

This is because these types of debt are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

HCEOs are used to try to put your goods under the control of the law to encourage you to pay. This could be by making an agreement with you about how much you should pay. If the HCEOs do this and you do not pay as agreed, they could return to remove the goods to sell at auction.

There are steps you can take to stop this from happening and we can give you further help and information about how to deal with the bailiffs.




It is not a criminal offence to have action taken against you in the High Court and be unable to pay what you owe. You cannot be sent to prison for this.

See our fact sheet:

High Court enforcement.