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 about bailiff enforcement.

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

This is a common ‘debt avoidance’ theory on some internet sites (or forums). If an enforcement company return the case back to the local authority, the council will simply refer the account onto another enforcement company under contract to them. Alternatively, the council may attempt 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.

Another myth. 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.

This is a myth as well. These notices have their origin with the Freeman on the Land (FMoTL) movement and are ignored by all enforcement companies. The warrant of control allows a bailiff to visit your property for the purpose of ‘taking control’ of your goods.

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

Oh no you can’t !!  Under Regulation 68 of Schedule 12 (TCEA) it is a serious criminal offence to remove a wheel clamp or to obstruct the bailiff from clamping or removing the vehicle. You could be sent to prison for up to 51 weeks or face a level 4 fine if convicted.  If a wheel clamp is removed, it is usual for the offence to be reported to the police.  They will then attempt to locate the vehicle by way of ANPR. Once located, it will  be removed to the Police pound.

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.  If a bailiff is enforcing an unpaid magistrate court fine, 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.

Another myth I’m afraid.  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. If payment is made online after a warrant is issued, the council or court usually forwarded the payment to the enforcement company. This is because; the compliance fee of £75 must be deducted first with the balance apportioned on a pro rata basis.  The warrant will only be part paid and bailiff enforcement will continue for the balance.

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. Rule 109 (3) of the Magistrate Court Rules 1981 states that where a signature is required on a form or warrant (of control), an electronic signature will satisfy the requirement. Also, there is no such document as a ‘Liability Order” and further information on this subject can be read here.

The bailiff must show you a copy of the warrant of control

Not true. In the first instance, the warrant is not address to you, it is addressed to the enforcement agent. It is his instruction to take control of your goods to settle the debt and his bailiff fees. If the debt is an unpaid court fine, there is no requirement for a bailiff to have possession of the actual warrant and this is outlined in depth here.

The warrant ceases if you  pay the fine (or sum adjudged) to HM Court Service online.

This is a fictitious loophole and one that should  to avoided. Despite this myth being highly inaccurate, it unfortunately continues to feature on a small number of internet sites (or forums). For the avoidance of doubt, payments made online to the court after a warrant is issued, will be transferred to the enforcement company.  Our popular page on this subject is  here.

A warrant of control dies after 12 months.

No it doesn’t. This is because; a bailiff has 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement to either take control of goods or to obtain payment. If he fails to do so, the warrant expires. The local authority (creditor) can make an application to extend the warrant for a further 12 months. Also, if you enter into a payment agreement with the bailiff company the position is different. The 12 month period begins with the date of the default ….not from the date of the Notice of Enforcement !!

Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online

If you have a query that you would like to ask us about any of the above ‘myths’, you can email a question to us using our popular Enquiry Form. Alternatively, can contact us by phone and the details are on our Contact page.

Lastly,  our Introduction to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations can be read  here.