April 2016 saw the coming into force of the 83rd amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules. In amongst the changes implemented by this instrument was the amended rule 73.3(2) which provides:
“Where an application for a charging order is to be made to the County Court, it must be made to the County Court Money Claims Centre…”
In a similar vein to the now long-centralised practice of issuing money claims in the County Court Business Centre, the decision was taken to create a ‘Charging Order Centre’ at the CCMCC, removing the responsibility from the local Courts to receive these instructions. Ostensibly to remove a further aspect of the administrative burden on the County Courts this seemed, compared to some of the more sweeping changes being made throughout HMCTS, a relatively innocuous procedural update to the Rules.
But with change can come turbulence. Process modification on this scale takes time to settle, and the suggestion that there may be disruption to an otherwise established procedure caused—as it is almost always wont to do—an element of disquiet amongst those in Debt Recovery who rely on the consistency of the courts to obtain Charging Orders on a quick turnaround to prevent the disposal of property by a defendant reluctant to engage with creditors.
Several months in, however, and it is clear that this centralisation was a force for good. While initial issues were encountered these were dealt with assiduously by CCMCC staff, and rectified with the gravity of the consequence of inaction in mind. Once these difficulties were overcome it became clear that the large contingent of Administrative Officers on hand at the CCMCC now means that applications can be considered with greater speed than could have been afforded by local Courts. In turn greater efficiencies can be passed on to Clients.
Debt Recovery in both the commercial and private spheres can be an incredibly challenging process for many Claimants, who have a vested financial interest in obtaining a fast and meaningful result—a result which Charging Orders can in the right circumstance deliver. Procedural change that allows us to realise this result in a more time efficient manner must be encouraged and initial reservations overcome, to ensure that our client’s interests continue to be the Central Theme of our working practice.
If you are struggling with an unpaid debt—whether post or pre judgment—the MorrCollect team at Morrisons Solicitors can assist you in the recovery of monies due. To find out more contact us on 01737 854 500 or contact us.