Bailiff reform: What is really needed?

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Schedule 12
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Bailiff reform: What is really needed?

Post by Schedule 12 » 18 Mar 2017 12:06

A group a debt advice charities released a report TAKING CONTROL The need for fundamental bailiff reform.

Dealing with Bailiffs operates a helpline for people looking for help with bailiff problems. It also offers self-help through The customer fact-find results are available on XLaw.

The campaign looks to introduce seven key recommendations, which are:
  • 1. The bailiff industry should be independently regulated.
Previous governments have rejected introducing an enforcement regulator. About 90% of bailiff activity on the streets are recovering money owed to a government body. The remaining 10% is high court writs for private companies and individuals.

A regulation must have statutory powers to compel enforcement companies to comply with regulations and punish those that do not.

This government and previous governments dismissed introducing a regulator. Successive governments are unlikely to introduce a regulator because the government stands to lose the most.

  • 2. There should be a free, clear, transparent and accessible bailiff complaints procedure.
A complaints' procedure works if the public knows about it. Regulations only require enforcement companies to nominate their own choice of remedy. CIVEA and HCEOA shows they are not impartial. Their efforts lobbying Parliament is on the side of the enforcement industry. Paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 provides statutory remedy.

  • 3. There should be a clear, simple and universally applicable procedure that allows people to apply to suspend action by bailiffs.
These already exist. Debtors, solicitors and advice groups learn of them by searching the internet.
  • Magistrates Courts. CPR 84, 85 and Sections 14 and 85 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980

    Traffic Debts. CPR 75, 84 and 85. Practice direction 75 Paragraph 8.1

    Council Tax. Section 82 of the Local Government Act 2003

    High Court Writs. CPR 83, 84 and 85

  • 4. Bailiff fees should be restructured, to incentivise good practice.
They already do. Regulation 3 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulation 2014.

  • 5. Bailiffs should use a prescribed and consistent framework for agreeing affordable repayments.
It should be the debtors option. Not the enforcement agent’s discretion

  • 6. There should be procedures in place to identify vulnerable people and protect them from enforcement.
Guidelines exist. Nobody enforces them. The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 must set out the classes of vulnerable persons and the procedures to confirm their vulnerability.

  • 7. Creditors should be required to act responsibly and do demonstrably more to collect debt before resorting to enforcement.
Guidelines exist. Creditors are not compelled to follow them

The rest of the report is bulked out with case examples and statistics.

The case samples quoted and statistics given may be a representational sample of customers approaching a debt advice charity. They are not a sample of customers looking for advice on non-compliant bailiff action.

Customers approaching Dealing with Bailiffs have an enforcement related problem. They never ask for debt advice. They complain that debt advice charities focus on providing debt management products and overlook whether enforcement action is compliant.

My key recommendations are:

Delete regulation(4)(1)(a) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Enforcement agents abuse this rule and over-value trade (exempt) vehicles to place them above the £1350 threshold.

Amend regulation 4(1)(d) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 to exempt any vehicle owned or kept by a person having a disabled blue badge. Debtors do not know they must display the disabled blue badge in the vehicle to maintain exemption. Enforcement Agents take and sell disabled people's vehicles exposing the taxpayer the burden of funding a Motability vehicle.

Delete regulation 6 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. Amend Regulation 5 to apply to all debt streams. This will protect debtors from high fees by transferring up of low-value judgments to the High Court.

Amend regulation 5(1)(a) of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. The compliance stage fee £75 to apply when the debtor is given the Notice of Enforcement. Debtors cannot identify the date an enforcement agent is instructed when attracting the £75 compliance stage fee.

Delete regulation 8 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Enforcement agents do not give notice preventing debtors settling before the £235 enforcement stage fee applies. Replace it with CPR Part 6 - Service of Documents. It provides irrefutable methods of giving a Notice of Enforcement. It disposes of any question whether or not the debtor is given notice under Paragraph 7(1) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Insert after Paragraph 26(1)(b) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, (c)the sum adjudged to pay excluding enforcement fees and costs. Enforcement agents are not forthcoming with the sum the debtor has been ordered to pay.

A new regulation to identify and remedy an excessive levy. Enforcement agents take control of goods of a higher value when goods relative to the debt are available. Protects debtors from multiple vehicles being taken into control for a single debt to attract income from expenses in connection with taken them into control.

Amend section 8 of the High Court and County Courts Jurisdiction Order 1991. The threshold to transfer to the High Court to be pegged to the threshold for allocating county court claims to the small claims track. This will protect debtors with low-value judgments from disproportionately high enforcement fees. The HCEOA will vigorously oppose it. It lobbied Parliament for the interests of its members on several occasions to reduce the threshold for judgments transferred to the High Court down to its present £600

Delete Regulation 35(2) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Enforcement agents self-value controlled goods to their own agenda. They re-value them ad-hoc when the original valuation becomes inconvenient.

Delete Paragraph 85.5(6) of Practice Direction 85. Delete Paragraph 60(4) and (5) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Enforcement companies abuse PD 85.5(6) to deliberately cause an interpleader claim to fail. They believe the interpleader claimant lacks funds to make the required payment to the value of the inter-pleaded goods into court. Enforcement agents deliberately take other people's goods into control knowing the owner is unable to make the required payment. Claimants can seek direction to vary the required payments but limited to Court discretion. It disadvantages unrepresented and low-income claimants and forces them to seek remedy under section 3 of the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. Making an interpleader claimant pay a sum to the value of his goods into court serves no purpose in assisting the court to establsh ownership of interpleaded goods.
I am a paralegal working for solicitors bringing proceedings against bailiffs for non-compliant enforcement action.


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Re: Bailiff reform: What is really needed?

Post by Edd » 18 Mar 2017 13:31

Scrap the lot, re gain some common ground and more sensical approach. Adding rip-off fees onto existent alleged monies outstanding belongs in the stone-ages? Frankly put a rather backward looking set up not required in a so called civil society.

There are already a few organisations willing to step in and help without the trouble, strife etc, not least doing so without adding a potentially heavier cost burden to creditor (free?) which ultimate causes the added grief. Those doing the bidding or EAs are of course driven by targets, incentives that can ultimately lead to over zealous behaviour and potential risks involved. Social media highlights this many times over. What will it take to find a more civilised approach?

Many folk already have enough on their plates, fact, add a complete stranger(s) barging in asking for money could potentially lead to "flash points" not least increase an already tricky situation, helping no-one? Do we really want to see potentially violent interactions and repercussions. Is it really worth it.

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Re: Bailiff reform: What is really needed?

Post by leclerc » 18 Mar 2017 17:57

I think that a formal ombusman for all bailiffs is something that would be better because, at the moment, you complain to the bailiff and then what? You have multiple ombudsman you could complain to and generally speaking you don't have a clue who to complain to. I have read figures that there were over 4 million people who dealt with bailiffs but as can be seen from this forum, bailiffs don't appear to follow the law and that has meant that many people that come to you take the legal route and inconvenience to resolve their issues.
"I am the enemy you killed, my friend." Wilfred Owen, Strange meeting

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Re: Bailiff reform: What is really needed?

Post by Edd » 18 Mar 2017 19:05

Unfortunately it is only a matter of time or when an EA will upset the wrong person for the wrong reason and it could end badly. Do they not perhaps realise this or when acting up? Some road-rage incidents are bad enough, one can only imagine the scenario in these sticky situations. Sheer madness in sadly too many cases, provoking an already perilous if not pretty sensitive situation. None sensical, unethical and darn right irresponsible.

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