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Court Bailiff threatening arrest with a distress warrant


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Hi,

 

I was over at my Mum-In-Laws place yesterday with the kids, when a bailiff arrived making threats to gain entry.

 

Long story short...

 

MIL lives in a flat with a central buzzer system (not a camera system) used to open the main door to the block, her buzzer went off and the delightful chap said something about an arrest warrant. MIL thinking that it was the police pressed the button to let him into the block.

 

MIL met him at her front door to find that he was actually a bailiff who said, "I have an arrest warrant for name."

 

BIL was not there at the time, and the bailiff was told by MIL that he would not be back until 8pm. The bailiff said that he needed to know where BIL was so that he could arrest him. MIL said that as BIL is a courier, he could be literally anywhere. Bailiff left a card and said "I'll be back."

 

There was more of a conversation than that, the bailiff was quite happy to tell MIL all about the debts, how many times they had attempted contact with BIL, and that if BIL did not pay the full balance on the spot, he would be arrested, he got quite nasty when told that BIL has only just started working again and doesn't have the money to pay in one hit etc etc. Very unprofessional and very rude IMO.

 

So anyways, the card that the bailiff left was a distress warrant issued by the county court and said amongst other things that they could turn up as and when they wanted with a locksmith and gain entry to levi goods.

 

Now, the flat is in MIL's name and the contents of the flat also belong to MIL and FIL, my BIL is staying there at the moment until he gets himself back on his feet.

 

The amount the court is claiming back is nearly £800 which was the result from court fines for driving without licence back in 2006, so it was a criminal bailiff not a civil bailiff. BIL is unable to pay that back in one hit as requested by the bailiff. BIL spoke to the bailiff on the phone and said that he didn't have £800 but would be happy to set up a payment plan, the bailiff said no and hung up on BIL.

 

I did a bit of digging on google last night, and it looks like criminal bailiffs when issued with a distress warrant can literally break into a property where the defendant lives and take what they want (correct me if I'm wrong). MIL is obviously very worried as the contents of the flat belong to her and FIL and are not the property of BIL.

 

BIL is worried as the bailiff refused to set up a payment plan, so he's not sure what happens next.

 

So the questions are;

Does my MIL need to complete a declaration saying that the contents of the flat are hers?

As MIL opened the buzzer for the main door, does that class as the bailiff gaining entry?

How does BIL go about setting up a payment plan?

Can the bailiff really arrest BIL? I thought it was only a police officer that can make an arrest.

 

Many thanks for your help in advance :)

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If its a distress warrant for unpaid fine for driving without licence it should be a Magistrate court fine i should think

 

can you have a look at paperwork the bailiff left and tell us what written on it

 

Where did your bro-in-law live in 2006 was he aware he had been fine

 

as for your mums property a statutory declaration Will sort that cost approx £5/10

 

tell him to keep his Vehicle well hidden or they will clamp it

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Hi hallowitch, thanks for the reply.

 

I don't have the paperwork at hand, I'll try and get FIL to scan it and send me a copy.

Yes, it was a magistrates court that imposed the fine. BIL was aware of it. I'm not sure of the ins and outs, but reading between the lines, I would say that BIL to a large part ignored the warnings etc. BIL has been in and out of work and has never really been in a position to pay back large fines. Trouble is, I don't think he realised it would catch up with him.

BIL was living at the same address at the time, then moved out for a while before moving back in last year. I'm guessing that he was warned by paperwork etc that he was being taken to court for non payment but sat on it.

 

BIL's van is a company van, so its not his - can they still clamp it?

 

As for statutory declaration, what does that entail? Surely, it would be down to the bailiff to prove otherwise, or can they literally just levy anything they like?

MIL rang the police for advice, they suggested getting receipts for all the items in the house to prove that the good belong to MIL. Sounds daft to me, receipts don't prove who owns what, only when they were bought and where. Not sure on this though?

 

Thanks anyways....

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Afffixed is a draft Statutory Declaration - your MIL needs to go to a solicitor (any local solicitor will do) on Monday morning and get it notarised (cost is usually £5/£10).

Statutory Declaration.doc

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Brilliant, thanks Ell-enn :thumb:

 

Probably a daft question, but what does my MIL do with the letter once it's been notarised?

Also, is there any steps that can be taken to complain about the bailiff? He got into the block of flats on false pretences and was quite happy to tell anyone that would listen all about the debt etc, surely, they have rules they have to adhere to?

 

Thanks

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"BIL's van is a company van, so its not his - can they still clamp it?"

 

No they cannot clamp it, legally but they could be bolshie and say they can, if they do they could mess the employer around by clamping and towing it anyway.

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Once you have the Statutory Declaration done, you need to take a couple of copies of it. Keep one by the door and if he comes back slip it through the letter box to him, also send one to the bailiff company by Special Delivery with a covering letter. Keep the original in a safe place.

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Lovely, thanks Ell-enn, I'll pass that on to MIL. Should the covering letter by from my BIL since it's his problem, or would it be best to address it from my MIL?

 

@ brassnecked, thanks. I'm guessing that if BIL is seen driving any car by the bailiffs, they would assume it was his? Shoot first, ask questions after type of thing. I'll warn him to park away from the flats either way.

 

Regarding the debt itself, and as the bailiff hung up on BIL, how would my BIL go about making arrangements to pay? Should he contact the court and ask for a means hearing?

 

Thanks again for all your help :thumb:

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The letter should be from your MIL as it's her property the bailiff visited and she's letting them know that none of the contents of her peoperty belong to your BIL. She should also include a complaint about his behaviour.

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Yes do as Ell-enn suggests, and try to get BIL to contact court himself to try to sort things, however, they may say tough deal with bailiff, but they are responsible for the bailiff. However as they are collecting a criminal fine there is the danger that there is a warrant for arrest without bail in their hands, as they intimated when they called, so it is in his bet interests to try to sort it PDQ. Nothing he does is anyway detrimental to any complaint about the bailiff your MIL makes, at the least the bailiff has breached Data Protection itself a criminal offence imho.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Thanks Ell-enn and brassnecked.

 

So, I'll draft up a covering letter for them. Would it be worth putting something along the lines that I'll be complaining to the OFT/ other governing body and that I do not give them permission to turn up at the property again?

Not sure on the ways around this seeing as BIL is actually living there.

 

As for the warrant for arrest, are they legally allowed to do that? I thought it was only a police officer that can make a full arrest. I'm guessing though that if this did happen, BIL would be held in court holding cells and would be put up in front of a judge in which case he could request a means hearing?

 

One other thing regarding the statutory declaration, to say that there is no items belonging to anyone else in the property is not strictly true as BIL has clothes etc. Not sure if that counts or not.

 

Meant to say, the bailiffs are from Marstons PO Box 308, Waltham Cross; anyone have their full address as I don't think you can send a recorded letter to a PO box.

 

Thanks everyone :)

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You wouldn't complain to the OFT about the bailiff - you would need to complain to Marstons and then the court.

 

Re the stat dec - BIL's clothes are not a problem so no need to mention them, but if he owns a 42" TV, playstation, cd player etc then they could be taken.

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