Bailiff Fees: Magistrate Court Fines
The fees that a bailiff/enforcement agent can charge when enforcing an unpaid Magistrates Court fine are outlined under the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. These regulations provide a strict three stage fee process as outlined below.
Compliance Fee: £75
If payment is not made for a Magistrate Court fine, HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunal Service) will issue a warrant of control. This will be passed to one of the enforcement companies under contract to HMCTS (Marston Group, Collectica, Excel or Swift). Upon receipt, the enforcement agent must send you a Notice of Enforcement . This notice must give you ‘seven clear days’ notice that a visit will take place to take control of your goods. A Compliance Fee of £75 is added to the debt at this stage. If payment in full or a payment proposal is not agreed during the strict time frame outlined in the Notice of Enforcement (referred to as the ‘Compliance Stage’ ) the account will be referred to an bailiff/enforcement agent and the fee as outlined below will be added to the debt.
Enforcement Fee: £235 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt over £1,500)
If full payment or a payment arrangement is not set up by the end of the ‘compliance stage’ or; if a payment arrangement is broken, the account may be passed to an individual bailiff/enforcement agent. At the time of the visit (and not before), an enforcement fee of £235 will be added to the debt. If the enforcement agent is enforcing more than one unpaid Magistrates Court fine he should only charge one ‘enforcement stage’ fee. He cannot apply ‘multiple’ charges.
Sale Stage Fee:£110 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt over £1,500)
For this fee to apply, the enforcement agent would need to have identified goods (usually a motor vehicle) that may be removed and made preparations for the removal of those goods. Additional charges may also be applied for storage charges and locksmith’s fees.
Can the bailiff/enforcement agent charge ‘multiple’ fees?
The simple answer is NO. Regulation 11 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 it provides that the enforcement company should ensure that wherever practical, all debts appearing on their records should be enforced by the bailiff at the same time. Consequently…..only one Enforcement Fee of £235 may be charged. If an enforcement agent has charge ‘multiple fees’, please do let us know.
Enforcement Fee of £235 and ‘vulnerable debtors’
Regulation 11 (above) and Regulation 12 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 are of importance and were put in place to provide protection for individuals who may be vulnerable.
Regulation 12 protects vulnerable debtors who may have been unable in the early stages to seek advice (from the local authority, magistrates court, debt counsellor/debt charity etc) about the debt. If a bailiff makes a personal visit (which incurs an enforcement fee of £235) and identifies the debtor as ‘vulnerable’, he should give that person a chance to seek advice before removing goods. If he fails to do so, the ‘enforcement fee’ of £235 is not recoverable.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have any queries about the bailiff fees being charged (and in particular if the bailiff attempts to charge ‘multiple fees’), you can email a question to Bailiff Advice Online using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact our free helpline. Please refer to our Contact Page for further details.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.