Are enforcement agents (bailiffs) legal in the UK?.

Are enforcement agents (bailiffs) legal in the UK?.

In short, yes. CIVEA members work legally on behalf of local authorities, National Highways, Transport for London and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). They are empowered by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and act in accordance with The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013.

Civil enforcement agents (sometimes known as bailiffs) are not debt collectors and are only used after councils have been unable to collect a debt themselves and have taken an individual to court. It is complex, highly specialised, and essential work that is needed to recover lost revenue for local and central government – helping to sustain vital public services while continuing to deliver the referrals, advice and support people need across the country.

Civil enforcement agents are empowered to enforce warrants of the court, liability orders or demands for non-payment by using the procedure of taking control of the debtor’s goods. They have a legal right to visit a property and to remove and sell goods to pay off a debt to government.

Why do enforcement agents (bailiffs) exist?

The work undertaken by CIVEA members is essential to funding local services such as adult social care, leisure facilities, refuse collections, and police and fire services. Uncollected tax and fines means less money for these services and higher bills for law-abiding residents.

It is the aim and objective of CIVEA to ensure that Certified Enforcement Agents and the companies they represent, follow a code of practice that promotes responsible and fair engagement with members of the public. We exist to ensure strict safeguards are implemented, so the vulnerable are provided with the right protection, and payment comes from those who wilfully refuse to pay, rather than those who want to pay but cannot afford to.

Why do we need enforcement agents (bailiffs) in 2023?

As long as some people deliberately avoid all attempts by local councils to recover unpaid taxes and fines, there will always be a need for enforcement visits. We understand that the prospect of a visit from an enforcement agent can be daunting, but this is a necessary action for wilful non-payers and is a deterrent for those who refuse to pay when they are able.

To ensure fair treatment of people struggling to pay, the enforcement process is specifically designed to encourage early engagement and to help people affordably settle their debts quickly.

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