The way that bailiffs in the UK are regulated is set for a big overhaul, as part of new Government legislation.
Until now, there has been no legal framework governing the way that the bailiff industry operated - only guidelines. This new Ministry of Justice consultation will set out a strict framework for how bailiffs can operate, essentially overlaying law onto ethical practices and providing clarity for both debtors and creditors.
In particular, the Government wants to ban the use of force and to set out exactly how and when a bailiff can enter a property, as well as establishing what can and can’t be seized and the fees that bailiffs can charge for debts they collect on behalf of local government, courts and businesses.
It is widely recognised that despite their generally poor reputation amongst the public, bailiffs play an important part in our economy. Without them, credit would not only be harder to come by, but would also cost a lot more.
At the same time that it is pushing the new bailiff framework through Government, the Ministry of Justice itself is trialling using private debt collectors to recover some of the £420m in unpaid court fines that it is owed. It will be interesting to see what example it sets in its collection techniques.
Historically, the second weekend in February is when the greatest number of people seek help with their debts, due in part to no longer being able to make ends meet following the arrival of post-Christmas bills.
If you have debt worries of your own – big or small – you can get free, impartial advice on the help available by visiting the Debt Advice Centre on checkmyfile. You’ll find solutions tailored to different levels of debt, all set out in an easy-to-understand and honest way.
Richard has a degree in Geography from the University of Glamorgan. His long service with us means that Richard can cover any topic relating to credit or identity fraud.
Richard Catlin is Marketing Director at checkmyfile.