New bailiff rules announced
Posted by: Edward Ware, 25 January, 2013
The Ministry of Justice has announced new proposals to control aggressive bailiff conduct.
In announcing the proposals, Justice Minister Helen Grant said: ”Until now there has been insufficient legal protection against aggressive bailiffs but that will change with the new laws and a mandatory training and certification scheme which they must pass before going into business. Bailiffs who do not follow the rules will be barred from the industry.”
The Ministry of Justice announced that new measures would, among others, include: banning the use of force against debtors and entering where only children are present; banning bailiffs from visiting outside the hours of 6am-9pm; ensuring that vulnerable people get assistance and that bailiffs are trained to recognise such people.
StepChange Debt Charity has raised concerns over the new rules saying that they do not go far enough and “do not provide an effective complaints procedure, a straightforward way of stopping action by enforcement agents or effective oversight of bailiff conduct”.
Commenting on the new measures, Delroy Corinaldi, StepChange Debt Charity external affairs director, said: “Financially vulnerable debtors will continue to face unnecessary hardship and undue stress if there is not independent oversight of bailiffs”.
“Evidence from our clients suggests debtors encounter aggressive bailiff behaviour with some regularity. The most frequent problems include incorrect or illegal levies, threatening behaviour, refusing to consider reasonable repayment offers and misrepresentation of legal powers to enter someone’s home.
“It is therefore crucial that robust measures are introduced to give struggling debtors the protection they need.”