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What are your options if the bailiff involves the police and gets them to make you open your door to allow the bailiff entry for something like a PCN or Council Tax?

 

If the bailiff wants to enter behind the policeman, are you entitled to stop the bailiff entering your premises i.e. closing the door, but not physically stopping the bailiff.

 

Is there a sticky with answers to various bailiff / police scenarios where the police have sided with the bailiff although there has been no abuse towards the bailiff.

 

These scenarios have been raised numerous times on CAG,

but no sticky has been raised to the best of my knowledge to advise what sort of action should be taken

in the event the bailiff gains entry to your home as a result of unlawful police action,.

 

Can someone please advise?

 

I don't have an issue but someone else may have such an issue and a post outlining their options may be helpful. Thanks

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This an interesting point for sure.

 

As far as I understand it, you would be well within your rights to make clear to the bailiff that they have no right to peacefully enter your property as you wish for them not to come in. The problem would be that with many Police officers, they sadly are unaware of the legal position and allow the bailiff entry.

 

Pretty frustrating, no doubt. I expect that's probably more to this, too.

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This an interesting point for sure.

 

As far as I understand it, you would be well within your rights to make clear to the bailiff that they have no right to peacefully enter your property as you wish for them not to come in. The problem would be that with many Police officers, they sadly are unaware of the legal position and allow the bailiff entry.

 

Up to what point can you stop a bailiff entering your property in the company of a police officer if the police officer has interpreted bailiff law incorrectly due to poor training and if the bailiff is able to enter at this point and levy placing you in a difficult financial situation, what further can you do i.e. can you prevent the police officer from entering your premises or will they arrest you. If they arrest you can then sue the police for wrongful arrest?

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Provided the bailiff has NOT started the levy process s/he MUST leave if instructed to.

 

Here's a case worth looking into: Brintons v Wyre Forest District Council [1976] 3 WLR 749.

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Surely even a police officer has no right of entry unless (a) he has a warrant or (b) reasonable suspicion that a crime is or is about to take place? In fact, the police shouldn't even need to be there unless there is reasonable suspicion that a breach of the peace would occur.

 

People should of course pay their taxes but failing to pay your Council Tax is not a crime and nor is it a licence for bailiffs or police to trample over basic legal rights. The bailiff has no right of entry unless he has previously been allowed in. People need to be aware of this and be very firm, without ever resorting to bad language or violence.

 

If the police have overstepped the mark then you must complain to the Chief Constable straight away. Likewise with the bailiff, complain to the CEO of the Council. In the meantime, continue to make whatever payments you can afford, directly to the Council.

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A Bailiff may only be in your home by permission and if you ask him to leave he must otherwise he committing a trespass. The difficulty with this is it will be word gainst his but as Sequenci has said in Post 4 there is case law on this. Another well known one is Khazanchi v Faircharm Investments 1988 where LJ Morritt stated entry may only be made "with the consent of the occupant or person in possession of the premises".


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Also you erect a sign at the entrance to your premises stating "No Bailiffs" to which if they cross the line again they are committing trespass, this notice can even have Police on it and they must also obey it - this was confirmed by Lord Scarman.


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The bailiff has no right of entry unless he has previously been allowed in.

 

This is the popular belief punted around by bailiff companies which may be why it became common belief, but it is not the case.

 

The case of Brintons Ltd v Wyre Forest District Council [1977] QB 178 rules a bailiff only has a right of re-entry to a debtor’s property if he has a valid levy. If the bailiff enters a property does not make a valid levy then he does not have a right to re-enter the property by breaking into it

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Perhaps its worth bringing up the relevant legislation on direct.gov.uk and asking the police to clarify it for themselves, and also quote that precedent too. Give it to them on a piece of paper, that way they have no excuse.


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I have sent an email to ACPO asking them to confirm if they have a policy with regard to bailiff incidents and, if so, what it is. Once I receive a response from ACPO, I will post it up on CAG and the other site I post on.

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I have sent an email to ACPO asking them to confirm if they have a policy with regard to bailiff incidents and, if so, what it is. Once I receive a response from ACPO, I will post it up on CAG and the other site I post on.

 

Lets hope it is a definitive one, as Chief Police officers need to ensure that the officers under their command understand what bailiffs cannot do, as well as what they can. An incident where police side with a bailiff who is acting ultra vires, such as some of the Marstons incidents on here, could rebound badly on a Chief Constable if an innocent third party or a vulnerable debtor died as a result of the bailiff's actions or behaviour that was aided and abetted by police.


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This is the popular belief punted around by bailiff companies which may be why it became common belief, but it is not the case.

 

The case of Brintons Ltd v Wyre Forest District Council [1977] QB 178 rules a bailiff only has a right of re-entry to a debtor’s property if he has a valid levy. If the bailiff enters a property does not make a valid levy then he does not have a right to re-enter the property by breaking into it

 

That makes complete sense to me. The general belief that because a bailiff had been inside a debtors home they could re-enter, always puzzled me. The criteria must be that the bailiff had also levied.

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Perhaps educating the police in bailiff matters could be brought to the attention of the newly elected Police Commissioners and be placed on the agenda for discussion with the Chief Constables they now have hold over?

 

WD

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Let me get a response from ACPO and then see if there's any mileage in badgering the new Police & Crime Commissioners to ensure police officers are trained in bailiff law.

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ACPO now comes under the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Confused 1

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