Types Of Bailiffs And Their Fees- Originally Posted by Ashley

Types of bailiffs

County Court Bailiffs

County court bailiffs are established civil servants. They are employees of the Court Service, and therefore are LCD staff. They are therefore subject to the Civil Service rules on recruitment, appraisal and monitoring.

They are subject to the control of the Court Manager, but they are also, under section 123 of the County Courts Act 1984, currently responsible to the district judge for their actions and defaults in the operation of their duties.

They are responsible for the enforcement of orders of the County Court. This can be in the form of recovering money through a Warrant of Execution, land or property through a Warrant of Possession, or to recover goods under a Warrant for Return of Goods. They are also responsible for the personal service of court documents and Warrants of Committal. (All County Court orders under £600 are their responsibility; all those over £5,000 (except Consumer Credit Act cases) can only be enforced by a sheriff).

Certificated Bailiffs

Certificated bailiffs are granted a certificate by a County Court judge which allows them to levy distress for rent. The certificate lasts two years and authorises the bailiff to levy distress anywhere in England and Wales. To obtain a certificate, the applicant must satisfy the judge that he is a fit and proper person to hold a certificate, that he has a sufficient knowledge of the law of distress, and that he is not in the business of buying debts. They must also provide two references and a security bond of £10,000.

They are not officers of the court and are not employed by the court. However, they are seen as representatives of the court because they act under the authority of a court issued certificate. The court therefore exercises, under the certification process, a certain amount of control over the standards of competence and conduct of these bailiffs. Other than that, there is no formal regulatory structure of certificated bailiffs, although those that are members of the Certificated Bailiffs Association are subject to the complaints procedure of that body.

Only certificated bailiffs can carry out distress for rent, council tax, non-domestic rates and parking fines.

Private Bailiffs

Private bailiffs include all private sector bailiffs who are not sheriffs or certificated bailiffs. (The use of the term ‘bailiff' is not restricted by law). They are generally employees of private companies. There is no requirement for employees of such companies to be certificated or to pass the CBA examination.

There is no general statutory control over the competence and conduct of private bailiffs. There is no compulsory membership of a trade body (although many bailiff firms do join ACEA which does have an established complaints procedure). The creditor employing the bailiff effectively sets out the terms and conditions under which they work and they are not officers of the court, even if they are enforcing court orders.

Unless otherwise restricted as to who can levy distress for a particular type of debt by statute, what type of debt a private bailiff enforces is a matter of contract between the creditor and the bailiff. Mainly used for magistrates' fines.

Distrainors

There are certain areas of civil enforcement where other people have the statutory right to levy distress for certain types of debt. An example of this is the Collector of Taxes right, under section 61 of the Taxes Management Act 1970, to levy distress for unpaid tax and NIC.

Inland Revenue staff are civil servants, and are subject to the same recruitment, appraisal and monitoring standards as all civil servants, including County Court bailiffs.

There is an established structure for complaints and accountability. In the first instance, complaints are made to the Officer in Charge of the relevant office. Beyond that, there is scope for complaint to Regional Offices, M.P.s, and to the Revenue Adjudicator.

The type of debt that can be levied for and the conduct of the levy are restricted both by statute and by internal Inland Revenue instructions.

Sheriffs (now called High Court Enfroment Officers)

The rules governing the appointment of High Sheriffs, Under Sheriffs and Sheriffs Officers are laid down in the Sheriffs Act 1887.

All appointees are technically responsible to the High Sheriff, and can be dismissed by him without notice or compensation. Under Sheriffs tend to be solicitors and their actions are therefore governed by the Law Society. Under Sheriffs and Sheriffs Officers both have professional trade organisations but membership is not compulsory. These are not regulatory bodies. When exercising their enforcement functions, sheriffs are enforcing High Court judgments - they are therefore acting as officers of the court and see themselves as responsible to the judiciary.

Sheriffs enforce all High Court judgments. They also enforce County Court warrants over £5,000. County Court warrants over £600 may also become their responsibility in certain circumstances.

Civilian Enforcement Officers

A number of MCCs employ civilian enforcement officers (CEOs) under the provisions of section 92 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 and Magistrates' Courts (Civilian Enforcement Officers) Rules 1990 (as amended). CEOs are able to execute a range of warrants including warrants of arrest and commitment for non-payment of fines and other sums adjudged to be paid, as well as warrants of arrest for breaches of community sentences. They do not usually execute warrants of distress. Some local authorities also employ CEOs to execute warrants of arrest for non-payment of local tax debts.

Approved Enforcement Agencies

MCCs may also contract work out to approved enforcement agencies (AEAs), as defined by section 31A of the Justices of the Peace Act 1997. Private enforcement agencies wishing to become AEAs must satisfy the requirements of the Approval of Enforcement Agencies Regulations 2000 (SI2000 No. 3279). Employees of an AEA can execute the same range of warrants as a CEO, and, in addition, are more likely to execute warrants of distress. It is the responsibility of the MCC to monitor the performance of the AEA under the terms of the contract.