Court fines and payment arrangements.
You may request further time to pay a Magistrate Court fine on receipt of the Notice of Fine and Collection Order. If you fail to contact the Fines Officer a last final opportunity to “appeal” the “method of enforcement” will be given to you the Further Steps Notice.
If you fail to contact the Fines Officer on receipt of the Further Steps Notice the court will assume that you have no intention of paying the court fine and in most cases, the Fines Officer will issue a Warrant of Control to one of the four enforcement companies under contract to HMCTS to enforce unpaid court fines. These companies are Marston Group Ltd, Collectica Ltd, Swift Credit Services ( for Wales) or Excel Enforcement Ltd (also for Wales).
Notice of Enforcement (NoE)
Under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 there is a legal requirement for the bailiff company to send a Notice of Enforcement to advise that they are in receipt of a Warrant of Control. This notice will include a statutory Compliance fee of £75.
If you are intending to make full payment of the amount requested on the Notice of Enforcement, this payment must be made within the strict time limit (referred to as the Compliance stage) outlined in the the Notice of Enforcement. It is recommended that payments should be made to the enforcement company either by way of their online payment facility or by phone. Avoid making payment by cheque. There is no requirement for the enforcement company to send a reminder letter.
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff company?
Yes…however, as outlined above, it is vitally important that if a payment proposal is to be made it must be agreed within the strict time limit displayed on the Notice of Enforcement. This is referred to as the ‘compliance stage’ and from experience, most enforcement companies are willing to agree a payment proposal over a period of 3 months and in exceptional cases, over 6 months. In all cases where a payment arrangement is agreed, the enforcement company will insist on an initial payment being made on the same day as the agreement is set up. This payment is usually around 25% of the outstanding debt.
If payment is not made or a payment proposal agreed within the time limit outlined on the Notice of Enforcement the account will automatically be passed to an enforcement agent to make a personal visit. A statutory enforcement fee of £235 will be added to the account.
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff when he attends my property?
It is much more difficult to agree a payment proposal at this very late stage and furthermore, the regulation provide that the purpose of the visit by the bailiff is to ‘take control of goods’ to satisfy the amount due (including bailiff fees).
With the above in mind we cannot stress the importance of contacting the bailiff company on receipt of the Notice of Enforcement. As outlined above, in most cases that we deal with, the enforcement company will readily agree a payment proposal over a period of 3 months and in exceptional cases; 6 months.
Can I make payment to the Magistrate Court instead of the bailiff company?
Sadly, there are many ‘debt avoidance’, ‘Freeman on the Land’ (FMoTL) and supposed ‘fee reclaim’ websites that advise that in order to avoid paying the bailiff fees that payment of the amount only of the court fine should be made online or in person to the Magistrate Court (HMCTS) and that supposedly, this will lead to the warrant being revoked. This advice is absolute nonsense.
If the purpose of making payment to the Magistrate Court is to avoid paying bailiff fees then sadly, this will not be achieved. We have a page here detailing the difficulty with paying the court direct.
Note from Bailiff Advice.
If you are have any queries about a Magistrates Court fine or are experiencing difficulty in getting a payment proposal accepted with the bailiff company, 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 new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of bailiff fees that can be charged, notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ from being taken into control can be read here.