Wikipedia defines a bailiff as “a manager, overseer or custodian; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority or jurisdiction is given”.
A bailiff is generally known as someone who is legally empowered to collect certain debts from debtors. This may be done either by asking people to pay what they owe, or by taking and selling their properties so as to raise the money owed. Bailiffs are often called enforcement agents due to the nature of their job. While some bailiffs are a court official, some sets work for a private firm.
If you owe money, a bailiff may visit your home to see if anything you own can be sold to pay the debt. Any money raised from selling belongings is used to pay the bailiff’s fees and charges as well as the debts you owe. A Bailiff’s work begin when someone who is a creditor tried to collect his money but with no success. He doesn’t come without a warning informing the debtors the intention of the creditor to enforce the recovery of the money.
Bailiffs cannot be used for all types of debt’s recovery but for specific kinds of debts. They comprise of the followings:
council tax and business rates
income tax, national insurance and VAT
county court judgments (CCJs)
high court judgments
magistrates’ court fines and compensation orders
The Powers of bailiffs
A bailiff is not an ordinary man assuming a certain position. A bailiff has authority to collect debts on behalf of a creditor and different types of bailiffs have different areas of jurisdiction. County court bailiffs, certificated bailiffs and Private Bailiffs are examples of different bailiffs and they can be used to perform in their core area.
Is a bailiff the same as a debt collector?
There are creditors that use collectors to get their money back from the debtors but they are not bailiffs. As bailiffs operate within the confine of the law, debt collectors have no such powers and they should not pretend as well. The Bailiffs and debt collectors differ with the kind of debt they are collecting and most importantly, bailiffs will surely come with an official notice. This is a great way to distinguish between bailiff and debt collectors. It should be noted at this junction that debt collectors are not bailiffs.
There are rules that a Bailiff has to follow. If these rules or any of them is broken, a complain can be made in the court and the bailiff’s action can be overturned.
Some of these rules are that the bailiff must have permission to act as such, be properly authorized to act against you and must make available for the debtor some definite information concerning the stages of the process.
Requirements to act as a bailiff
For someone to act as a bailiff a person must have certificate to act as a court bailiff which should be presented on request in the course of carrying out the duty.