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    There is no legislation that says bailiffs can use a “locksmith” or break entry into homes. The word “locksmith” is bailiff terminology for a right to “enter by reasonable force”. There is no law enabling bailiffs to enter domestic premises by reasonable force when recovering unpaid writs. Bailiffs can enter an unlocked door. Not open windows. If the key is in the lock, the bailiff can unlock the door by turning the key. They cannot unlock a door using a key found under the doormat. When you tell a bailiff to leave your home, he must do so with all due reasonable speed. They can enter commercial premises by breaking entry, but defending the claim for damages makes this commercially untenable for bailiffs.

    Bailiffs and locksmith

    It is the practice of Marston Holdings and Collectica Ltd to threaten debtors with locksmiths.


    Bailiffs recovering unpaid COURT FINES may use reasonable force to enter to search of goods to be taken into control.

    Paragraph 5 of Schedule 4a of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980 states;

    An authorised officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of a power conferred on him by this Schedule.

    Paragraph 18(b) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 states;

    General powers to use reasonable force

    17Where paragraph 18 or 19 applies, an enforcement agent may if necessary use reasonable force to enter premises or to do anything for which the entry is authorised.

    18This paragraph applies if these conditions are met—

    (a)the enforcement agent has power to enter the premises under paragraph 14 or 16 or under a warrant under paragraph 15;

    (b)he is acting under an enforcement power conferred by a warrant of control under section 76(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (c. 43) for the recovery of a sum adjudged to be paid by a conviction;

    (c)he is entitled to execute the warrant by virtue of section 125A (civilian enforcement officers) or 125B (approved enforcement agencies) of that Act.

    The jury is out as to whether “reasonable force” means breaking entry to private homes using a locksmith.


    Bailiffs cannot break entry if they seek to recover UNPAID FEES

    This is why:

    A warrant of control for the recover of unpaid magistrates;’ courts fines is issued under section 76 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980; which states;

    Subject to the following provisions of this Part of this Act, and to section 132 below F1, where default is made in paying a sum adjudged to be paid by a conviction or order of a magistrates’ court, the court may issue a warrant of distress for the purpose of levying the sum or issue a warrant committing the defaulter to prison.

    The warrant only confers an enforcement power to recover the sum adjudged.

    Bailiffs cannot enforce unpaid fees because they are not the sum adjudged.

    Kill the warrant

    To prevent your home being broken in by bailiffs, you must

    Pay the fine online, and;

    Get a receipt, and;

    Give the bailiff notice the sum adjudged has been paid.

    Paragraph 6(3) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 states;

    (3)The property in all goods ceases to be bound when any of these happens—

    (a)the amount outstanding is paid, out of the proceeds of sale or otherwise;

    (b)the instrument under which the power is exercisable ceases to have effect;

    (c)the power ceases to be exercisable for any other reason.

    The reason, is the sum adjudged under the warrant of control has been paid.

    Paragraph 31 of the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014 states;

    Enforcement agents must not seek to enforce the recovery of fees where an enforcement power has ceased to be exercisable.

    Paragraph 59 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 states;

    59(1)This paragraph applies if a further step is taken despite paragraph 58(3).

    (2)The enforcement agent is not liable unless he had notice, when the step was taken, that the amount outstanding had been paid in full.

    (3)Sub-paragraph (2) applies to a related party as to the enforcement agent.

    (4)If the step taken is sale of any of the goods the purchaser acquires good title unless, at the time of sale, he or the enforcement agent had notice that the amount outstanding had been paid in full.

    (5)A person has notice that the amount outstanding has been paid in full if he would have found it out if he had made reasonable enquiries.

    If you have the receipts proving when you paid the sum adjudged, and a bailiff company interferes with the locks to your property, or makes a threat of doing so.

    You can bring an action against the bailiff company and the bailiff under section 3 of the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 and a trespass action under common law. Also, if money changed hands, we can have a detailed assessment.

    Fees can only be recovered from the proceeds of the sale of goods controlled. Once the fine is paid without the bailiff taking control of goods, there is no legal provision for bailiffs to recover fees using the Schedule 12 enforcement procedure.

    Regulation 4(2) of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 states;

    Recovery of fees for enforcement-related services from the debtor

    4.—(1) — The enforcement agent may recover from the debtor the fees indicated in the Schedule in accordance with this regulation and regulations 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17, by reference to the stage, or stages, of enforcement for which enforcement-related services have been supplied.

    (2) The fees referred to in paragraph (1) may be recovered out of proceeds.

    Blurring the line between “costs” and “fees”

    Court staff are not legally trained, but they sometime try to fob off a complaint about breaking the locks after a fine had been paid into court online.

    They quote section 26 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which states;

    26Payment of fines and other sums

    (1)In the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 after section 75 insert—

    “75ACosts of collecting sums adjudged to be paid by a conviction

    (1)Where a sum is adjudged to be paid by a conviction, the person liable to pay the sum is also liable to pay amounts in respect of costs of doing things for the purpose of collecting sums of that kind.

    (2)Where the person is charged such an amount, the sum adjudged to be paid is treated as increased by that amount.

    (3)No such amount may be charged unless a collection order or other notice of the person’s liability to pay such amounts has been served on the person.

    (4)Where time has been allowed for payment of the sum, no such amount may be charged before the end of that time.

    (5)Where payment is to be by instalments, no such amount may be charged—

    (a)before the first occasion on which there is default in the payment of an instalment, or

    (b)at any other time when the instalments are up to date.

    (6)No such amount may be charged in respect of costs that may be recovered under paragraph 62 of Schedule 12 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (costs related to taking control of goods and selling them).

    This legislation only provides for the costs of doing things and has not provided for statutory fees.

    Otherwise sub-section (1) above would read;

    the person liable to pay the sum is also liable to pay fees in connection with enforcement steps taken as prescribed in the Schedule of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

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