Internet myths about Bailiff enforcement

Unfortunately, with bailiff enforcement, there is a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information posted on the internet. We have therefore introduced this page to explore (and correct) the most popular internet myths and fictitious loopholes.

You can avoid bailiff fees by ‘sitting it out’ or ignoring a bailiff.

This ‘debt avoidance’ theory is one that is commonly advised on some internet sites (or forums). In fact, if an enforcement company return the account back to the local authority (because they have not been successful in obtaining payment), the council will simply refer the account onto another enforcement company under contract to them. Alternatively, the council will aim to collect the debt directly from your employer by way of an Attachment of Earnings Order.

If you are vulnerable, the bailiff must return the debt to the council.

Wrong. What will normally happen, is that if the enforcement company are satisfied from the evidence provided that you are vulnerable,  the account will be referred to the company’s  Welfare Department. We introduced this helpful page to our website a short while ago to address the subject of bailiffs and vulnerable debtors.

If a bailiff ignores a Removal of Implied Right of Access notice he commits trespass.

Not true. These notices have their origin with the Freeman on the Land (FMoTL) movement and are ignored by all enforcement companies on the simple basis that the warrant of control allows a bailiff to attend a debtors property for the purpose of ‘taking control’ of your goods. Furthermore, regulation 66 (1 &2) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunal Courts & Enforcement Act provides that a bailiff will not be considered a trespasser if he breaches any provision (in Schedule 12) or if there is any defect in the warrant, the writ or the liability order.

If your car has been clamped, you can cut the clamp off.

Incorrect. Under regulation 68 of Schedule 12 (TCEA) it is now a serious criminal offence to remove a wheel clamp or to obstruct the bailiff from clamping or removing the vehicle and anyone found guilty on conviction may face being fined (level 4) or sent to prison for a term not exceeding 51 weeks…or both. If a wheel clamp is removed, all bailiff companies will inform the police. The police will attempt to locate the vehicle by way of ANPR and if located, the car will be removed to the Police compound.

Bailiffs enforcing court fines need a separate warrant to force entry.

Another myth and one that is causing huge problems to debtors both emotionally and financially. A detailed page on this subject can be read here. To clarify; with magistrate court fines, the warrant itself allows  the bailiff to use a locksmith to force entry.

You can avoid bailiff fees by paying the Council or Magistrate Court direct.

No you cant. This continues to be one of the most frequent enquiries that we receive and our webpage on the subject (here) is one of the most read pages on our website. Once a warrant has been issued, if you make payment to the local authority or the magistrates court (in the case of court fines), then that payment will be forwarded to the enforcement company so that their fees can be deducted first. The warrant itself, will only be partly paid.

A warrant or liability order must have a court seal and a wet ink signature.

One of the most popular (and inaccurate) Freeman on the Land (FMoTL) theories. In the first instance, there is no such document as a ‘Liability Order” and further information on this subject can be read here.

With a warrant of control for unpaid court fines there is no requirement for a bailiff to have possession of an actual warrant and this is outlined in depth here.

On the matter of a ‘wet ink’ signature, Rule 109(3) of the Magistrate Court Rules 1981 states as follows:

“Where a signature is required on a form or warrant other than arrest, remand or commitment warrant, an electronic signature incorporated into the document will satisfy the requirement.”

A bailiff can only make a maximum of 3 visits.

Wrong. A warrant of control allows the bailiff a maximum of 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement to either ‘take control of goods’ or to obtain payment. Accordingly, the bailiff can attend your property as many times as he likes and in accordance with the contract from the relevant local authority.

If you have a court fine, pay the sum adjudged to the court and the warrant ceases.

Despite this myth being highly inaccurate, it unfortunately continues to feature on a small number of internet sites where it gains attention from ‘debt avoidance’ viewers.

The correct position, is that if payment is made to the court (either in person or on-line) after a warrant is issued, all magistrate courts simply transfer the payment… the bailiff company as outlined here.

A warrant of control dies after 12 months.

No it doesn’t. The regulations specify that a bailiff has 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement to either take control of goods belonging to the debtor or to obtain payment. If he fails to do so, the warrant expires but the regulations provide that the local authority (creditor) or the enforcement agent can apply to the court to extend the warrant for a further 12 months.

Most importantly, if you enter into a payment agreement with the bailiff company and then default on the agreement, the 12 month period begins with the date of the default ….and not from the date of the Notice of Enforcement !!

Note from Bailiff Advice Online

If you have a question that you would like to raise with us, simply you use the following form.