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Does the bailiff have a right to force entry for this with a locksmith? I thought that was only for evictions?

 

There is a huge amount of misinformation regarding the forcing of entry for court fines. In the first instance, a separate warrant is not necessary and is not a requirement.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, forced entry is permitted by the warrant itself.

 

It is not used that often and in most cases, is used where a debtor refuses to engage with the enforcement agent. It is sadly the case that forced entry has also taken place because the debtor himself has been wrongly advised of the legal position.

 

As an example, on Saturday, I received an enquiry where a locksmith was present. In that particular case, the debtor had paid a lot of money (approx £150) to have a statutory declaration prepared claiming that he did not own any of the goods within the house. He was told that the enforcement agent must accept this document as evidence and that he was therefore not allow to gain entry. These statutory declarations are causing a lot of problems at the moment.

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Homer, Bailiff Advice is technically correct in stating they can force entry. However, it is very, very unlikely, and she has omitted to mention that this is only being mentioned as a threat to coerce you to pay.

 

If the bailiff forces entry without permission from their company, they are likely to face some serious questions, even if they are technically acting within the letter of the law.

 

You are co-operating. The chances of anyone forcing entry are extremely small, so please don't worry about it.

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Homer, Bailiff Advice is technically correct in stating they can force entry. However, it is very, very unlikely, and she has omitted to mention that this is only being mentioned as a threat to coerce you to pay.

 

If the bailiff forces entry without permission from their company, they are likely to face some serious questions, even if they are technically acting within the letter of the law.

 

You are co-operating. The chances of anyone forcing entry are extremely small, so please don't worry about it.

 

Really coughdrop? What tough questions would they be?

Where does it say in the regs or in the contracts that a bailiff must check with his company if he can force entry??

The EA is acting within the law forcing entry on a mag fine, and doesn't need anyone's permission.

 

To the OP, show the EA you have no assets, and there is nothing he can do.

Once the EA is satisfied with that, he may then look to set up a more suitable payment plan.

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Really coughdrop? What tough questions would they be?

 

Where does it say in the regs or in the contracts that a bailiff must check with his company if he can force entry??

The EA is acting within the law forcing entry on a mag fine, and doesn't need anyone's permission.

 

HMCTS Revised their previous Forced Entry Protocol in July 2014 and I started a thread on this exact subject. Grumps, you were a main contributor to the thread:

 

 

Below is a 'word ' version of the revised procedures.

 

PS: The headings and underlining are mine.

 

 

FORCED ENTRY POWERS PROCEDURE

 

This document replaces the previous document issued December 2009

 

Forced Entry Powers

 

This procedure covers the rare instances where the court’s contractor considers using force to gain entry to a defaulter’s

 

Within this procedure document forced entry refers to a circumstance where the defaulter is present in the property but refuses access to the contractors’ enforcement agent.

 

Monitoring actions to be covered in monthly and quarterly contractor monitoring meetings are recorded at Appendix A.

 

 

Where does this power originate from?

 

The previous protocol outlined legislation Magistrates Courts Act 1980 Schedule 4a. Part 3 and Schedule 12 of the TCE Act 2007, brought into force on 6th April 2014, introduced changes to the powers of entry under the new “taking control of goods” procedure. It is the contractors’ responsibility to comply with these changes and ensure that ensure that the relevant legal requirements are adhered to (Para 27.1 of Conditions of Contract).

 

 

What does the contractor have to do before using forced entry powers?

 

The contractor is responsible for ensuring that either the forced entry power which it is proposed to use is available without a court warrant, or that if such a power is not available, a warrant is obtained from the court under the relevant legislation.

 

However, no forced entry to arrest or take control of goods against the defaulter should be attempted without first attempting to seek the prior approval of the court Nominated Officer, although responsibility for the actual forced entry will remain with the contractor.

 

Before approval can be given the contractor’s enforcement agent /Manager must contact the Nominated Officer explaining their reasons to use forced entry and the method to be used i.e. use of a locksmith.

 

This should be short and to the point. Once considered and if approved a written record must be maintained. This should be recorded at the earliest opportunity following the forced entry incident.

 

 

Where approval is withheld further dialogue should be undertaken to agree a suitable way forward.(3.5)

 

If the Court Nominated officer or any deputy is not available to give approval at the relevant time, then the contractor may proceed to use the powers of entry at their own discretion.

 

A record that contact was attempted with the Nominated Officer, including date & time, must be endorsed in the contractor’s database.

 

What does the contractor have to do after forced entry powers have been used?

 

In addition to the approval requirement a written record covering what happened during the forced entry incident must be entered onto the contractor’s database and be available for examination by the contractor’s court Nominated Officer. The record must include:

 

Name of defaulter(s)

 

Issuing court and warrant number

 

Name and number of contractor’s enforcement agent(s) and other staff in attendance

 

Address where forced entry was gained/attempted.

 

Detail of others in attendance i.e. police officer including name and number, lock-smith including the
name of the firm and locksmith,court officials and others

 

Date and time court Nominated Officer approval obtained.

 

A concise narrative of the event as it unfolded, including if forced entry proved necessary and if any force was necessarily used to restrain the defaulter.

 

There should also be a record made of any damage to the defaulter’s or third party property. Where no damage has arisen then a nil return should be recorded

 

The outcome including if an arrest was made or taking control of goods was successfully executed

 

What, if any, further action has been agreed with the court Nominated Officer or the defaulter

 

Following a forced entry it is the contractor’s responsibility to secure the premises.

 

 

July 2014

 

HMCTS Enforcement

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?444271-Magistrate-Court-fines.....does-a-bailiff-have-to-apply-to-court-for-a-warrant-to-allow-him-to-force-entry

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Exactly BA, and the above is the biggest cause of issues, as most forced entry cases happen OUTSIDE the courts opening times, so the EA is left to their own devices.

 

There is no sanction or "telling off" involved and no "serious questions" to answer.

 

Moat contact requiring forced entry happens before a debtor leaves for work or after they return.

 

A person in the house during the day is likely out of work, and the EA would tread carefully anyway and would want the burden of authority on the nominated officer.

 

But to say they are NOT allowed to force entry, or that only with a separate warrant, or only with permission of the NO or only with the companies permission is just wrong.

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Of course it is always better from the EAs perspective to force an entry at a time when the Courts are closed to guard against any chance of a refusal by the Court .

 

In London especially some one at home during the day could well be either a night worker or a shift worker.

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Of course it is always better from the EAs perspective to force an entry at a time when the Courts are closed to guard against any chance of a refusal by the Court .

 

In London especially some one at home during the day could well be either a night worker or a shift worker.

 

Its got nothing to do with refusal. A court will only refuse if it's clear there are no assets, and the bailiff wouldn't be looking to force entry anyway then as it's not cost effective to do so.

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Exactly BA, and the above is the biggest cause of issues, as most forced entry cases happen OUTSIDE the courts opening times, so the EA is left to their own devices.

 

There is no sanction or "telling off" involved and no "serious questions" to answer.

 

A person in the house during the day is likely out of work, and the EA would tread carefully anyway and would want the burden of authority on the nominated officer.

 

But to say they are NOT allowed to force entry, or that only with a separate warrant, or only with permission of the NO or only with the companies permission is just wrong.

 

I get so incensed when misinformation is posted regarding bailiff enforcement and even more so when the subject is regarding forced entry.

 

I rarely link back to the Forced Entry Procedure thread as I am acutely aware that it can worry members of the public. As we all know, many enforcement agent 'threaten' forced entry

and whether we like it or not, many times, such a threat does illicit payment.

 

A few years ago (shortly after David Cameron had been elected as Prime Minister) a Parliamentary Question was raised as to whether the government would remove the 'forced entry' procedure for non payment of court fines. The government's response was that the 'forced entry' procedure should remain as it is the 'threat' (of forced entry) that normally leads to payment being made. I will try to locate a copy of the PQ.

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Exactly BA, and the above is the biggest cause of issues, as most forced entry cases happen OUTSIDE the courts opening times, so the EA is left to their own devices.

 

There is no sanction or "telling off" involved and no "serious questions" to answer.

 

Moat contact requiring forced entry happens before a debtor leaves for work or after they return.

 

A person in the house during the day is likely out of work, and the EA would tread carefully anyway and would want the burden of authority on the nominated officer.

 

But to say they are NOT allowed to force entry, or that only with a separate warrant, or only with permission of the NO or only with the companies permission is just wrong.

 

 

Are you suggesting that an EA simply gets out of bed at 5am and then randomly decides what he's going to do for the day?

 

Just because the court is closed a t the time of visit, does not mean permission must be applied for at that time.

 

What will probably happen is the decision will be made (at a level higher than the foot soldier) and permission to the court will be obtained. Plans will then be put in place for a 6am visit the following morning, ensuring the locksmith is booked to attend and probably ensuring the police are alerted in case things turn ugly and a fast response is needed.

 

No company would want to just visit and claim the courts were closed. What about if things went wrong? What about if the debtor didn't live there or someone was hurt during the visit?

 

The power is there to force entry but companies will want to make damned sure that they follow protocols in order to protect themselves if things go wrong during the visit.

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Really coughdrop? What tough questions would they be?

Where does it say in the regs or in the contracts that a bailiff must check with his company if he can force entry??

The EA is acting within the law forcing entry on a mag fine, and doesn't need anyone's permission.

 

To the OP, show the EA you have no assets, and there is nothing he can do.

Once the EA is satisfied with that, he may then look to set up a more suitable payment plan.

 

Dear God, is it too much to hope EA's themselves are familiar with the FEP's, they've been around long enough now.

 

I said EA's are technically within the law when forcing entry. That does not mean it is happening regularly (in fact hardly ever) for people who are cooperating.

 

 

I get so incensed when misinformation is posted regarding bailiff enforcement and even more so when the subject is regarding forced entry.

 

Yes, in fact I'm glad you posted the FEP's so Grumpy can familiarise himself with them.

 

 

As we all know, many enforcement agent 'threaten' forced entry and whether we like it or not, many times, such a threat does illicit payment.

 

 

It's funny isn't it that only about a month or two ago I made exactly that point and was shot down in flames by possibly the two main contributors to this page. I thought then it was only because (as has now been proven incorrect) I was being accused of utter crap and wasn't flavour of the month, at least the above proves that, so again I'm delighted you posted the above.

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Are you suggesting that an EA simply gets out of bed at 5am and then randomly decides what he's going to do for the day?

 

Just because the court is closed a t the time of visit, does not mean permission must be applied for at that time.

 

What will probably happen is the decision will be made (at a level higher than the foot soldier) and permission to the court will be obtained. Plans will then be put in place for a 6am visit the following morning, ensuring the locksmith is booked to attend and probably ensuring the police are alerted in case things turn ugly and a fast response is needed.

 

No company would want to just visit and claim the courts were closed. What about if things went wrong? What about if the debtor didn't live there or someone was hurt during the visit?

 

The power is there to force entry but companies will want to make damned sure that they follow protocols in order to protect themselves if things go wrong during the visit.

 

As a newcomer to the forum you will not have much experience of this situation.

 

The fact of the matter is that almost 600,000 warrants for unpaid court fines are issued each year.

 

Since the regulations were introduced in 2014, a very high percentage of debtors respond to the initial Notice of Enforcement and set up a payment arrangement. Alternatively, debtors who are 'vulnerable' will engage with the enforcement company to advise about any 'vulnerability'. The number of warrants actually passed to an enforcement agent has also significantly reduced.

 

What needs to be understood is that if the debtor ignores earlier correspondence, then the case is passed to an enforcement agent for the purpose of 'taking control of goods'. If after a search for 'non exempt' items reveals that there are insufficient goods available, then a payment arrangement could be agreed.

 

When an enforcement agent is 'on the streets' (so to speak), he will almost always be in very regular contact with other agents in the area (so that he can ask for assistance), and almost always, he will be in regular contact with the manager for that particular area so that permission regarding 'forced entry' can be discussed and if necessary, obtained.

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As you correctly state, the case is passed to an enforcement agent FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING CONTROL OF GOODS.

 

However, you are mistaken in your view that a payment arrangement could be agreed.

 

In fact, when there are no/insufficient goods, then the correct course of action would be to return the warrant to the court. This of course rarely happens as there is little incentive for a bailiff to do so. nevertheless, it is the correct course of action.

 

The above applies to all types of enforcement and is not specifically tied just to the enforcement of fines.

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My input on this forum is to provide assistance to the public and viewers. It is not to get into arguments with fellow posters.

 

As anyone with experience of bailiff enforcement will know, the majority of household items are exempt from seizure and what items may remain, are generally not worth taking as they would rarely cover the debt and fees outstanding.

 

It is also the case, that it is extraordinarily rare for household items to 'actually' be taken. Far more common, is for the goods to be moved towards a door. This is of course to 'encourage' payment.

 

If bailiffs were to return every case back to the court if there were insufficient goods, there would be many thousands of warrants returned unnesessarily. Instead, payment arrangements can be set up....and this is commonly what happens.

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I do apologize. It is not my intention to start arguments with anyone.

 

Surely the correct way to provide assistance to the public and viewers is to provide accurate information to them?

 

What incentive is there for a debtor to enter into a repayment plan with a bailiff, once (s)he knows that goods cannot be removed? Why would anyone want to do this, or indeed advise someone to do this when it will cost a debtor an additional £310 to do so? I ertainly wouldn't want to pay an extra £310 if there was an alternative which meant that I didn't have to do so.

 

Regarding bailiffs returning many warrants back to the court, this is of no concern to me. It is not my problem as I didn't make up the laws, I just act and respond within them.

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My input on this forum is to provide assistance to the public and viewers. It is not to get into arguments with fellow posters.

 

As anyone with experience of bailiff enforcement will know, the majority of household items are exempt from seizure and what items may remain, are generally not worth taking as they would rarely cover the debt and fees outstanding.

 

It is also the case, that it is extraordinarily rare for household items to 'actually' be taken. Far more common, is for the goods to be moved towards a door. This is of course to 'encourage' payment.

 

If bailiffs were to return every case back to the court if there were insufficient goods, there would be many thousands of warrants returned unnesessarily. Instead, payment arrangements can be set up....and this is commonly what happens.

 

This is where it is worrying, because these Enforcement agents are actually engaging in what might be considered mental abuse. We know there is a strong link between debt and mental health, so any actions which might make the situation worse could open the agents to a criminal charge of corporate manslaughter, if the worse were to happen. So they have to tread very carefully and make sure any training they have received on welfare issues are correctly applied. I am sure Marstons would prefer their Agents to return warrants to a court, where the situation suggests this is the best course of action.

 

Where someone is facing difficulty paying fines and has goods of insufficient value, Marstons should work with the Courts to find other ways that are helpful to all parties. It should never be about trying to preserve rights on enforcement fees. The Marstons agents are probably calling early mornings or during evenings, as they need people to be at home. They also know that households will be sleepy in the mornings and in the evenings might be tired, so they stand a better chance.

 

TV licencing should have been decriminalised when the government last reviewed this, but the government were lobbied by the BBC/Capita not to do this, as they were already struggling to get people to pay for licences. In other countries, they have already changed their licencing systems, because people now view TV programmes differently than they did even 5 years ago.


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Are you suggesting that an EA simply gets out of bed at 5am and then randomly decides what he's going to do for the day?

 

Just because the court is closed a t the time of visit, does not mean permission must be applied for at that time.

 

What will probably happen is the decision will be made (at a level higher than the foot soldier) and permission to the court will be obtained. Plans will then be put in place for a 6am visit the following morning, ensuring the locksmith is booked to attend and probably ensuring the police are alerted in case things turn ugly and a fast response is needed.

 

No company would want to just visit and claim the courts were closed. What about if things went wrong? What about if the debtor didn't live there or someone was hurt during the visit?

 

The power is there to force entry but companies will want to make damned sure that they follow protocols in order to protect themselves if things go wrong during the visit.

 

No, an EA will plan his calls. But a forced entry can only happen when the debtor is present so that cannot be planned. Your way of thinking is too naive to be practical.

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Dear God, is it too much to hope EA's themselves are familiar with the FEP's, they've been around long enough now.

 

I said EA's are technically within the law when forcing entry. That does not mean it is happening regularly (in fact hardly ever) for people who are cooperating.

 

Yes, in fact I'm glad you posted the FEP's so Grumpy can familiarise himself with them.

 

It's funny isn't it that only about a month or two ago I made exactly that point and was shot down in flames by possibly the two main contributors to this page. I thought then it was only because (as has now been proven incorrect) I was being accused of utter crap and wasn't flavour of the month, at least the above proves that, so again I'm delighted you posted the above.

 

Forced entries happen daily multiple times.

Forced entries on writs or parking warrants etc are very rare.

But fines, that is a common occurrence.

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Right

 

So you now appear to be stating that an EA plans his calls. What was to stop him, during the planning of his calls, following the procedure that Bailiff Advice linked to?

 

Are you now saying that a bailiff shouldn't have to bother with the court because the debtor might not be in?

 

Can you please explain to me, your reason why approval can not be sought on one day, with a visit taking place the next?

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It seems talking to bailiffs on here is similar to talking to bailiffs in real life (in my personal experience). You'd get more satisfaction talking to a turnip; at least they wouldn't respond, which is preferable to responding with twaddle after not having read what has been said properly.

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Right

 

So you now appear to be stating that an EA plans his calls. What was to stop him, during the planning of his calls, following the procedure that Bailiff Advice linked to?

 

Are you now saying that a bailiff shouldn't have to bother with the court because the debtor might not be in?

 

Can you please explain to me, your reason why approval can not be sought on one day, with a visit taking place the next?

 

Could you please remember that this is somebody else's thread and it is going seriously off topic.

 

The reason why I posted a copy of the revised (from July 2014) Forced Entry Procedures is to correct the inaccurate remark from Coughdrop that bailiffs enforcing magistrate court fines can 'technically' force entry. The correct position is that bailiffs can legally force entry.

 

Secondly, there is no requirement at all for this Forced Entry Procedure to be provided to enforcement agents in the same way that enforcement agents would not be provided with a copy of a local authority contract !!

 

This document is one that I obtained under a Freedom of Information request. I would expect (and in fact I know that it is the case) that enforcement agents would have their own internal guidance regarding steps that should be taken regarding forced entry.

 

As I said above, this thread has already gone off topic. If anyone wishes to discuss forced entry, then it should be done under the discussion section of the forum and not on here.

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Right

 

So you now appear to be stating that an EA plans his calls. What was to stop him, during the planning of his calls, following the procedure that Bailiff Advice linked to?

 

Are you now saying that a bailiff shouldn't have to bother with the court because the debtor might not be in?

 

Can you please explain to me, your reason why approval can not be sought on one day, with a visit taking place the next?

 

Do you have a crystal ball? Can you guess that a debtor will be in at a certain time the next day? Your nativity on this subject is making you look silly.

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I apologize to the OP if I have detracted from the issue at hand.

 

However, I hope that my comments have been helpful to both the OP and all other viewers of the forum.

It is important to remember that forced entry is a last resort.

Agencies DO jump through hoops before giving the go ahead to their foot soldiers to force entry.

 

If there are no goods/insufficient goods on the premises, the correct procedure should be for the EA to return the warrant. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should debtors be advised to enter into a repayment plan in these cases.

 

Finally, most goods in households are NOT exempt.

 

I will say no more on the matter.

 

Do you have a crystal ball? Can you guess that a debtor will be in at a certain time the next day? Your nativity on this subject is making you look silly.

 

Well it doesn't stop you visiting does it?

 

You will surely cover yourself by obtaining clearance for the eventual time when the debtor is in?

 

Please do not make the mistake that I am naive. It only serves to make yourself look silly.

 

All the questions I am asking are all relevant and valid questions that would be asked in an enquiry, if something went wrong with a visit.

 

 

Why the hell would you not want to cover your backside by simply following protocol?

It seems crazy to me. Fortunately, your bosses are not so reckless.

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Well it doesn't stop you visiting does it?

 

You will surely cover yourself by obtaining clearance for the eventual time when the debtor is in?

 

Please do not make the mistake that I am naive. It only serves to make yourself look silly.

 

All the questions I am asking are all relevant and valid questions that would be asked in an enquiry, if something went wrong with a visit. Why the hell would you not want to cover your backside by simply following protocol? It seems crazy to me. Fortunately, your bosses are not so reckless.

 

Do you have any idea how many cases are issued each year and expect the courts to deal with a forced entry application just in case the debtor is in on every warrant. Lol. I assume from the tone of your comments that you only came on to troll.

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Of course I know how many cases are issued. I also know of the benefit to both sides of having protocols in place for the extreme small percentage of die hard "won't pays" that result in forced entries.

 

I actually came on here looking at a completely different section of the site, for my own personal benefit. I found this section two days ago and subsequently registered.

 

I don't see what all the fuss is about. The enforcement of court fines provokes very, very few complaints/claims. There is no need whatsoever for an agency to overstep the mark and they rarely do. They also ensure that they are covered in the handful of cases in which forced entry is used.

 

I'm not sure why you are trying to create this image of chaos within the court system and individual EA's being at liberty to decide when they force entry. We both know this isn't the case don't we?

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Of course I know how many cases are issued.

 

I actually came on here looking at a completely different section of the site, for my own personal benefit. I found this section two days ago and subsequently registered.

 

The enforcement of court fines provokes very, very few complaints/claims.

 

There is no need whatsoever for an agency to overstep the mark and they rarely do.

 

I'm not sure why you are trying to create this image of chaos within the court system and individual EA's being at liberty to decide when they force entry. We both know this isn't the case don't we?

 

I would hazard a guess that you are not a new user of this forum at all. The use of the word 'EA' always gives you away and where there is doubt.....you only have to look at the hostile way in which you post.

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