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Ministry of Justice amends contracts for court fine enforcement with new fee scale and updated Forced Entry Provision.


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Ministry of Justice amendments to Contracts for Court Fine enforcement.

 

In 2006 the Ministry of Justice awarded contracts to private sector bailiff companies to enforce magistrate court fines. Over time, new contracts have been awarded and the current position is that only four companies are contracted to enforce unpaid criminal court fines with Marston Group and Collectica Ltd enforcing in the UK and Excel Ltd and Swift Credit Services covering Wales.

 

In April 2014 the Ministry of Justice Procurement Directorate (as representative of the Secretary of State) made important amendments to each of the companies contracts to ensure that they were compliant with Part 3 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 which came into effect on 6th April 2014.

 

In this respect amendments were made to Schedule 4 (Specification) and Schedule 5 (Price Schedule).

 

In respect to Schedule 4 the following changes have been made to the contracts:

 

The word 'Bailiffs' have been replaced with ‘Enforcement Agent’

 

‘Distress Warrants are now known as Warrants of Control’

 

'Taking Control of Goods' has replaced words, such as ‘Levy’ and ‘Distrain, Distraint and Distress’ ...
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In respect to Schedule 5 (Price Schedule) the following changes have been made to the contracts:

 

The amendments confirms that the Statutory Fees and Forced Entry Power Procedures have both been revised.

 

In respect of bailiff fees the contracts have been amended to provide that the following statutory fees are to be levied on defaulters:

 

Compliance stage: Fixed fee of £75

 

Enforcement stage: Fixed fee of £235

 

Sale or disposal stage: Fixed fee of £110

In respect of Removal and Sale, Storage and Locksmith fees the bailiff must only charge the 'actual amount' to the defaulter.

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The Secretary of State has also granted permission to extend each contract by a further one year.

 

A copy of the amendments to Schedule 4 and Schedule 5 outlining the changes to the statutory fees that each company may charge to fine defaulters is shown below.

 

PS: To see the revised fee scale it will be necessary to scroll down to page 3 of the attached.

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Having read the above 2 posts there appears to be a lot of information missing I think clarification on several points will be needed to allow readers and debtors to have a better chance of understanding the role of the EA and this fee schedule, my observations are as follows.

 

 

Since this fee schedule is maybe live now for all intents and purposes does this now put an end to the saying that Courts fines/recovery fees are not payable by the debtor?

 

 

Also does this mean that the debtor is FULLY responsible for the fees from now on and ARE recoverable once enforcement action has started.

 

 

Finally will this put an end to paying in the foyer and online to avoid those fees accrued after the point a warrant of control has been issued I.E. paying the fine in full once you have had the NoE through your door?

 

Observations

 

1. A clamping order

2. The amount recoverable on the 1st visit or those there after

3. Wrongful clamping of a 3rd parties car

4. Wrongful control of a 3rd parties goods

5. Obtaining proof of value of the goods sold at auction

 

 

Questions in order

 

 

1. If the EA decides to clamp a vehicle without checking to see if it is the property of the debtor what can the ACTUAL owner do legally

2. Is the EA allowed to claim "in full" at 1st visit as they do atm? Can the debtor be allowed to make an arrangement to pay?

3. Is the EA still allowed to clamp a vehicle without a clamping order, if not can the defaulter still ask for proof of the order?

3a. Can the EA randomly clamp ANY vehicle that they THINK the debtor owns or has an interest in? To gain the £205-00 fee this attracts?

4. Will goods belonging to a 3rd party still be "protected"?

5. To protect the debtor from rogue auctions can they demand proof of the actual amount obtained at auction for the goods they lost?

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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BA, do you know how often are clamping orders issued?

 

Although 'Clamping Orders' are rare they are one of the sanctions available to a Fines Officer under the Courts Act. There are a number of reason why they are rarely used.

 

Firstly, a 'Clamping Order' is specific to an actual vehicle and a DVLA search (as you will know) is not confirmation of vehicle ownership but is confirmation only of the vehicle 'keeper'. Also, DVLA searches would not be able to ascertain whether the vehicle could be 'exempt' and in particular....used by a disabled person and displaying a Blue Badge.

 

Secondly, with a Warrant of Control the individual officer has the same 'power' under the warrant to 'clamp' the car without the need for the Fines officer to make his own enquiries.

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Since this fee schedule is maybe live now for all intents and purposes does this now put an end to the saying that Courts fines/recovery fees are not payable by the debtor?

 

Also does this mean that the debtor is FULLY responsible for the fees from now on and ARE recoverable once enforcement action has started.

 

Finally will this put an end to paying in the foyer and online to avoid those fees accrued after the point a warrant of control has been issued I.E. paying the fine in full once you have had the NoE through your door?

 

 

Thank you MM.

 

Parliament amended legislation on 6th April 2014 to enable all debts (magistrate court fines, road traffic debts, liability orders etc) to be enforced using the procedure outlined under Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts & Enforcement Act 2007 and its secondary legislations; The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

 

Accordingly, the enforcement of magistrate court fines has the identical statutory fees as all other debts and this has been in place since 6th April 2014.

 

On the question as to whether debtors will continue making payment of the court fine (without bailiff fees) direct to the court, the simple answer is that some debtors will continue to do so but the number of cases where this happens has significantly reduced over the past couple of months and it is my understanding that all courts are now forwarding direct payments to the relevant enforcement company so that the EA can properly deduct the Compliance fee (of £75) and apportion the balance on a 'pro rata' basis (approx 60% towards the court fine and 40% towards the balance of bailiff fees) in accordance with the regulations.

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The Secretary of State has also granted permission to extend each contract by a further one year.

 

A copy of the amendments to Schedule 4 and Schedule 5 outlining the changes to the statutory fees that each company may charge to fine defaulters is shown below.

 

Very good post BA this clears up the 'myth' that the said fees have not been approved by parliament

 

PS: To see the revised fee scale it will be necessary to scroll down to page 3 of the attached.

 

 

Very good post BA this clears up the 'myth' that the said fees have not been approved by parliament.

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Very good post BA this clears up the 'myth' that the said fees have not been approved by parliament.

 

Would you like to bet on that ?

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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I can answer this one HCEO's. If memory serves me correctly they were an admin fee of £85 and a one off enforcement fee of £215.

 

Thanks Coughdrop. I'm guessing the bailiff companies contracted with this kind of work will welcome the new fees especially given the ability to add a Sale Stage fee of £110 on some cases.

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