Ministry of Justice
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Tighter regulations for bailiffs announced
Plans for a new code regulating the activities of bailiffs were announced by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice today.
To provide clarity for debtors and certainty for creditors, the following measures will be implemented in advance of full independent regulation:
* an on-line certificated bailiff register allowing debtors to check bailiffs' certification status;
* an extension to the certification process to ensure that all bailiffs provide a Criminal Records Bureau check with their application;
* minimum training requirements and competences for inclusion in the certification process.
These measures, which will commence later in the year, will contribute to the development of the more permanent solution of independent regulation in 2012.
However, following a comprehensive reassessment of the provisions in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 ordered by the Secretary of State for Justice, the Government will not be extending bailiffs' powers of entry and the use of force by enforcement agents, and will not be commencing Charging Order reforms.
Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said:
"Last year Jack Straw asked me to look again at enforcement provisions contained in the TCE Act, to assess whether they remained appropriate. "As a result the Government is today introducing plans for a number of measures and which will prepare the ground for long term reform of the enforcement industry and a new code governing the activities of bailiffs.
"This will help debtors, creditors, bailiffs and the police understand what their rights and responsibilities are when debts are enforced. However, following the reassessment the Government will not now be commencing provisions on Charging Orders or taking any action that would extend bailiffs powers of entry."
Notes to Editors
1. The Tribunals Courts and Enforcement (TCE) Act received Royal Assent in 2007.
2. A written ministerial statement was placed in the House on 17 March 2009
3. Bailiff reforms based on provisions in the TCE Act will do away with complex and archaic legislation to ensure that bailiffs carry out their work in a transparent, fair and honest way, and offer certainty for creditors and clarity for debtors. In particular, subject to consultation, regulations under the Act will clarify:
* When and how a bailiff can enter somebody's premises.
* What goods they can and cannot seize and sell.
* What fees they can charge.
The regulations are designed to help debtors, creditors, bailiffs and the police understand their rights and responsibilities in enforcement.
4. For more information, please contact Ministry of Justice Press Office on 020 33 34 35 36.