Bailiff Regulatory Reforms To Be Introduced

Measures Designed To Provide More Clarity Regarding Use Of Services

15.04.2014

New changes to the powers that bailiffs and debt collection agencies have in terms of enforcement are set to come into force from Sunday (April 6th).

The reforms to the Tribunals, Courts & Enforcement Act 2007 are to be introduced following a Ministry of Justice consultation on debt collection and are aimed at providing more clarity in relation to issues such as when services can be used and what goods can be taken control of.

Among the measures are plans which will see mandatory training and certification for bailiffs who will now be known as enforcement agents, the need to declare how they intend to force entry, take control of goods and what force they will use before being granted a warrant and restrictions on the sale of controlled items.

In addition, enforcement agents will also need to give notice before taking control of goods unless they gain specific permission from the courts.

Industry bodies including the Civil Enforcement Association have broadly welcomed the reforms.

Expert Opinion
These measures are a step forward and provide clarity to both the debt collection industry and the general public on the procedures which will be used to enter properties and take control of goods.

"The use of training and proper certification for those in the industry will also help to formalise such activity and ensure professional standards of service are met.

"While these regulations will provide more clarity to the public, it also remains vital that these new measures are applied fairly across the industry. Any rulings or sanctions on organisations within the debt collection industry could have a significant reputational and long-term career or business impact on those affected.

"Appeals to the court on certification will need to address the balance of ensuring a proper regulated system being in operation and the business and individual career interests of persons employed by the enforcement agents."
Alex Peebles, Solicitor