Court fines and forced entry
If the Bailiff/Enforcement Agent is enforcing an unpaid magistrate court fine, then unfortunately, the statutory regulations permit for forced entry into your property. In reality, this is more of a ‘threat’ in order to obtain full payment. Nonetheless, we do receive frequent enquiries where forced entry has taken place so hopefully the following information may assist.
Regulations allowing forced entry for Magistrate Court fines.
The general right allowing for forced entry in relation to an unpaid magistrate court fine, is provided under Paragraph 18 of schedule 12 of the Tribunal Courts & Enforcement Act 2007.
Does the bailiff need to obtain a separate warrant to force entry for a court fine?
No he does not. There is a provision under Paragraph 15 of Schedule 12 for applications to be made to court for a separate warrant (to force entry) but this paragraph is only applicable in cases where:
The bailiff is attempting to recover a debt enforceable under section 127 of the Finance Act 2008
The premises are premises to which debtors goods have been deliberately removed in order to avoid them being taken by a bailiff.
In all other cases the bailiff does not need to apply for a separate warrant in cases where forced entry is considered.
Is there any guidance concerning the use of forced entry?
Yes, following the introduction of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, HM Courts & Tribunal Services replaced their previous (2009) Forced Entry Protocol. A copy of HMCTS’s updated (July 2014) Forced Entry Procedures can be read here.
Note from Bailiff Advice.
If you have any questions about about the right of a bailiff/enforcement agent to force entry in relation to an unpaid magistrates court fine, you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Details are on our Contact page.
A simple overview of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of bailiff fees, the notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ from being taken into control (by a bailiff) can be read here.