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  1. Just before the new regs came in I asked for some info , this is what the MoJ emailed me today if the response helps anyone great if not sorry. the important part is in blue, the document as a whole is as important. Names have been removed to protect the sender and receiver Dear Mr ********** Thank you for your email of 31st March regarding the new regulations governing bailiff action. I am replying as a policy official working on civil enforcement policy. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to you. The Department does not provide a plain english version of the regulations or rules. However, each of the regulations and rules have an accompanying Explanatory Memorandum which aims to provide a plain english explanation of the effect of the legislation. These can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk under each of the relevant regulations and rules. In addition, gov.uk provide a plain english overview of the main changes (available here: https://www.gov.uk/bailiffchanges) and a plain english overview of your rights (available here: https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-bailiffs). As I am unable to comment on individual cases or provide legal advice you may wish to seek advice from a free advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, if you require advice on your particular situation. Details of your nearest bureau can be found at:http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/getadvice.htm or by calling 08444 111 444. As I cannot provide legal advice, I have limited my comments to general background on the areas set out in our legislation and which do not require legal opinion or interpretation. Bailiff action is only taken as a last resort and only after the debtor has been given several opportunities to settle the debt or seek alternative arrangements with the debtor. As you will appreciate, the payment of debt and fines is important to both the economy and the justice system. If debt or fines were not collected creditors would not wish to lend money and the public's confidence in the courts would decline. The Government's new laws on bailiff action make sure that debt can still be collected but in a way that is fair to both the person the money is owed to as well as the person in debt. The Government's new laws came into force on the 6th April. They have introduced a simple set of rules which detail, amongst other things, what goods a bailiff (now called an enforcement agent) can and cannot take, how and when they can enter premises and what fees they can charge. The new fees reflect the real cost of enforcement work and remove additional charges which could be added by the enforcement agent and could be very high under the old rules. The new system only allows additional charges to be added for “exceptional” expenses and only when they have been approved by the court and the person who is owed the money. The new rules introduce some protections for vulnerable debtors. While creditors are expected to stop enforcement action in the most vulnerable cases it is important that debtors who can pay are not prevented from paying the money they owe as building up debt can often make an individual's situation worse. The protections set out in the new rules aim to ensure vulnerable individuals are protected from aggressive behaviour while at the same time allowing that debt to be collected. For example, under the new rules, enforcement agents must not enter premises when only vulnerable people are present and an enforcement agent must make sure that vulnerable debtors have the opportunity to seek advice and guidance before they are charged the larger enforcement stage fee. When applying for a certificate to act as an enforcement agent, an individual is now required to have training on how to recognise vulnerable people and must understand what actions they should take when they have done this. The new laws do not define who would be considered a "vulnerable" person. They require, instead, an enforcement agent to assess each case on its own merits rather than rely on a definition that could not cover every situation. The Ministry of Justice has produced voluntary guidance (the "Taking control of goods: National standards" available here: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/courts/enforcement-officers/taking-control-of-goods-national-standards.pdf) to support creditors and enforcement agents in their work and to promote minimum standards. This document includes a section on vulnerability and, while setting out categories of individuals who may potentially be vulnerable, it states the need to consider every situation individually and suggests how these may be dealt with. As police powers fall under the remit of the Home Office I cannot comment specifically on these. However, a person is guilty of an offence under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and risks imprisonment and/or a fine if he intentionally interferes with controlled goods without a lawful reason to do so. This may result in the enforcement agent calling the police to deal with the offence. Turning to the powers of an enforcement agent, they are able to go anywhere in England and Wales to take control of goods of the debtor and can only take control of goods, including vehicles, belonging to the debtor. The new rules allow enforcement agents to use a clamp and, if the enforcement agent is taking control of a vehicle on a highway they are required, by law, to first clamp the vehicle for a minimum of 2 hours before it is removed. Controlled goods are only abandoned if the enforcement agent fails to give the debtor the required notice of the sale. An enforcement agent can only use reasonable force to enter or re-enter premises, without prior authority of the judge, in certain circumstances and they may use a locksmith to do this. An enforcement agent may only use reasonable force to enter, without prior judicial authority, when they are collecting a magistrates' court fine or a sum payable under a High Court or county court judgment in commercial premises only. An enforcement agent may only use reasonable force to re-enter premises, without prior judicial authority, whenrecovering an unpaid magistrates’ court fine or any debt covered by the new rules where he has already taken control of the goods or there is a controlled goods agreement in place, which the debtor has breached, and the debtor has received notice of the intention of the enforcement agent to re-enter premises to inspect the goods or remove them for storage or sale. Kind regards Policy Officer Enforcement Reform Civil Justice | Ministry of Justice | 4th Floor post point ****| 102 Petty France | London SW1H 9AJ |
  2. Having a few concerns and questions, I emailed the MOJ with the following, now awaiting for them to reply so I can put up some answers to questions that are being asked all over the forums in regards to the new Taking Of Control Of Goods Act, I am hoping that they will reply but think it will take some time to get an answer here are my questions some have been removed to protect parts that are of a special significance to me personally. Good morning. I am requesting some clarification on some matters regarding the new Act "taking control of goods" There does not appear to be a "in plain English" version of these new rules, the reason I am asking for them is as .............................................................................. I want to know 100% if I have ANY protection whatsoever from a bailiff under the new regulations, if so what are they and where can I find the copy of those rules please. 1. I am ............................................................................................................. 2. As for the voluntary code of practise for bailiffs (enforcement agent) what can I say to one should they turn up at my door and how could I get them to believe the vulnerabilities' if I had any that applied to my situation. 3. With the new fee structure is there any protection for anyone in the vulnerable groups? If so can you please issue me a copy of the said list and how the bailiff must act when confronted with these sorts of debtors. 4. In plain English can someone please put pen to paper what if a debtor that falls into the vulnerable household rules in relation to the new regulations, what if any protection they may have from these new regulations. 5. I am seeking clarification can a Bailiff clamp and remove any vehicle from a debtors driveway? 6. The use of ANPR for bailiffs as follows 1. Can a bailiff use a Police stop check point to catch a debtor within one of these Police stop check situations? What actions can a Police Officer do to assist a Bailiff when requested by the bailiff at a debtors home, can the Officer assist the Bailiff in ANY matter except to "prevent a breach of the peace" The use of a locksmith, please can you clarify as to when a Bailiff can use a locksmith or threaten the use of a locksmith. If a vehicle is clamped on the debtors drive and is this is private property can the debtor legally remove the clamp? if so can you confirm this. if not is this a criminal offence that can see the debtor arrested for criminal damage? If the Bailiff has clamped the vehicle and leaves the scene is this "levy abandonment"? Does the notice floating around the internet that claims to remove the implied rights of access have any LEGAL STANDING WHATSOEVER as far a bailiff is concerned? As you can see I have many questions far to many to email you with, but I need to know what the "legal" powers of a Bailiff actually are, I have asked several bailiff companies for this information and they have refused to let me have this so have been left with no other option than to ask for help from you. I appreciate any assistance you may be able to offer me in this matter and am happy to receive your responses via email, but I would also request that you send me a hard copy in writing please so I can keep an official copy of your reply for future referencing. Yours Respectfully MM
  3. I have just received a copy of the following Press Release from CCR-Public Sector: MoJ begins bailiffs law meetings Tuesday, 19th March 2013 The Ministry of Justice has confirmed to CCR-Public Sector, that meetings have started in London, between the various interested parties, to move forward implementation of the government's proposals for bailiff law and certification overhaul. The working groups have started and include: · Debtor Group · Advice Sector · Enforcement Industry Group · Local Authority Group · Interdepartmental Working Group · The Enforcement Law Reform Group. Each working group has a selection of representatives, drawn from a wide range of government departments, enforcement companies and the debt advice sector, including Citizens Advice. Implementation of all changes, as the MoJ has previously said, will be in 2014. An official spokeswoman told CCR-PS last Friday: "The working groups will be meeting over a number of weeks, at the MoJ in London, to look in fine detail at the government's intentions, which have been based largely on the more than 200 responses to last year's bailiff consultation. It is the government's intention to rein in 'aggressive bailiffs' and ensure vulnerable debtors are treated fairly." MoJ minister responsible for bailiffs, Helen Grant MP, is heading the government team.
  4. From today many more criminals will be made to pay towards supporting victims of crime. Currently offenders only contribute around one sixth of the funding that supports victims’ services. Hard-working taxpayers provide the rest. In a massive overhaul to the way services for victims and witnesses of crime are funded, the 'Victim Surcharge' is being increased and extended to apply to a far wider range of sentences. Extending the 'Victim Surcharge' is the next step in the Government's drive to see offenders provide up to £50 million more each year for victims services. This is on top of the £66 million already given by central Government. http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/features/new-rules-make-offenders-pay
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