Sheriff’s Procedure

After lodging a notice of motion for the levy of property (“writ”), an order is sent to a sheriff to seize property from the person or company specified in the motion. The writ is valid for 12 months and can only be enforced during that period of time, another writ may be applied for after the expiration.

The sheriff will act on a writ within the first few months after receiving the order. Usually a sheriff receives multiple orders for writs in a certain place or area which they complete during the same period of time. The time-frame for enforcing a writ depend on how long it takes for the sheriff to get hold of the subject of the writ and when access to the property is granted. When the sheriff has successfully accessed the property, the inventories may be inspected and valued. No property or items are seized during the first visit but the sheriff gives the subject of the writ a warning that if the debt is not paid the property may be seized.

The sheriff makes a record of the inventories available in order to value them and assess if selling them at an auction could pay off the debt. If the subject of the writ does not make payment in relation to the debt, the sheriff return to the property to seize the recorded inventories. Usually the sheriff notifies the issuer of the writ of any seizure of property and the time for auction.

The time-frame for the sheriff to enforce a writ vary depending on how long the auction takes to execute. Usually the auction includes the sale of property from multiple writs that have been enforced by different sheriffs, therefore the time spent on organising the auction vary depending on the time spent to collect the property.

The sheriff may incur additional costs when enforcing the writ, such as costs for organising the auction, returning to the property to collect more property to satisfy the debt etc. which are payable by the issuer of the writ. The issuer is normally notified by the sheriff if such costs would incur.

The money raised in the auction will be paid to satisfy the debt after paying the sheriff a levy of 3% of the amount gathered through the auction and any additional costs described above.

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