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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 |

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How the Ministry of Justice, who are the biggest bunch of (rhymes with) books under the sun, have the front to come out with that is beyond me.

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Don't ask me lol I just asked the questions, I have now compiled further requests in regards to their reply which will make for great reading, I will update as they do

 

 

MM


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To be honest, it doesn't shock me anymore, but it's still amazing how thick skinned they are and confident they will get away with it.

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The words must not....expected and stop are very important as is this section

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

While creditors are expected to stop enforcement action in the most vulnerable cases ..... The word expected is a difficult one here as is the use of the most vulnerable is again left open to misintepretation

If the above quote is read correctly as it is meant to be then the EA MUST NOT ENTER a premise if the only person/s there is deemed "vulnerable" so therefore if ANYONE is alone in the premise and they fall in to the vulnerable group they ARE wrong by entering

 

I am going to pick right through their reply with valid points as I continue

 

 

MM


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HCEO's I am hoping you may add some light to this post at #5 what is your interpretation of this from the MoJ please?

 

 

MM


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In the quote below does this clarify that cutting off a clamp will get the debtor into trouble as they are interfering with controlled goods

 

 

 

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.

MM


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In the quote below does this clarify that cutting off a clamp will get the debtor into trouble as they are interfering with controlled goods

 

 

 

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.

MM

 

For the seizure to be lawful the Control of Goods Order must be signed by the debtor, so if they have applied a clamp to a random car adjacent to a debtors property, as they do for their convenience, before attending the debtors premises, and the lawful owner comes out sees the clamp and cut it off then the EA gets them arrested for interference with Controlled goods, it will show MOJ what problems are still inherent in the system, as the goods are not the debtors, the lawful owner should challenge the EA and cut it off only if they refuse. However there would be a claim against the EA and creditor for any losses actual and consequential springing from the unlawful seizure imho.

 

I don't think the new rules prevent an innocent reclaiming their motor if it is clamped prior to a Controlled Goods Order, as when debtor says not my car, the EA should be very wary indeed, as a debtor CANNOT sign a TCGO for randomers property.


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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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I don't think the new rules prevent an innocent reclaiming their motor if it is clamped prior to a Controlled Goods Order, as when debtor says not my car, the EA should be very wary indeed, as a debtor CANNOT sign a TCGO for randomers property.

 

As stated above this comment brings us nicely to the Parking Mad series and the EA's on that show that try to take a car that was sold before the TCOG has been dealt with. Its a mess is all I can say

 

 

MM


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In the quote below does this clarify that cutting off a clamp will get the debtor into trouble as they are interfering with controlled goods

 

 

 

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.

MM

 

The get out clause in their statement is "without lawful reason". This could cover an innocent 3rd party removing a clamp

from their car. Though I seem to remember that a Judge was of the opinion that before doing so the removal person should have given the bailiff the chance to remove it themself. Yeah right.

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The get out clause in their statement is "without lawful reason". This could cover an innocent 3rd party removing a clamp

from their car. Though I seem to remember that a Judge was of the opinion that before doing so the removal person should have given the bailiff the chance to remove it themself. Yeah right.

 

This point is important in light of the usual MO of an EA is to clamp first and ask questions later regarding ownership of motors adjacent to a debtors home.


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If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

 

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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