Bailiffs - Their powers

Bailiffs are appointed by the court when a County Court Judgment (CCJ) goes against you in connection with your non-payment of dues claimed by a lender. Normally, the lender requests the Court to appoint the bailiffs to collect their debt from the borrower.

When a bailiff is appointed, the Court sends you a document titled ‘Warrant of Execution’. This document notifies you about the appointment of a bailiff in your case. The County Court bailiff then arrives at your doorstep to take necessary action.

If a lender initiates a legal proceeding in the high Court and wins a County Court Judgment in his favor, he could involve private bailiffs to collect payments from you. Alternatively, High Court Enforcement Officers could also be engaged in such situations. These officers may ask for any unpaid magistrate’s fines, council tax and other arrears.
Their powers are different from that of the County Court bailiffs and they usually command higher charges. Many Creditors prefer them more to county court bailiffs for their efficiency in collecting unpaid dues.

Bailiffs have their own rights and they can exercise those rights in order to recover any unpaid dues from you. As a borrower, you need to be aware of a bailiff’s power.

A bailiff can exercise his powers to take your goods and valuables and can sell them at an auction. The amount so raised can be used to settle your debts. But the bailiff cannot take away your goods forcibly without your permission.

In fact, in their first visit, they don’t take away anything but prepare a list of your belongings that they can take away in the future. Once the list is prepared, you cannot remove anything from your possession. If you do so, it will be considered as a punishable offense.

If they enter your premises through an unlocked door and take away your goods for sale, this is called ‘Walk in Possession’. When a bailiff uses his rights of ‘Walk in Possession’ once, he can use it again in the future.

It seems pretty obvious to say, if you don’t want a bailiff to visit you, it’s better that you don’t miss your payments and clear your dues on time.

In case you are already in debt and in need of more information please read this guide on How to deal with collection agencies.

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