UK Justice Ministry takes on aggressive bailiffs with new laws
MOSCOW, January 25 - RAPSI. UK Justice Minister Helen Grant has announced a new set of laws aimed at protecting debtors from abusive bailiffs, while still protecting the financial rights of businesses, according to a press release issued by the Justice Ministry Friday.
The laws aim at regulating the wild-west world of debt collection in the UK. According to Grant, “For too long bailiffs have gone unregulated, allowing a small minority to give the industry a bad name. Too many people in debt have had the additional stress of dealing with aggressive bailiffs who often charge extortionate fees.”
Under the new laws, bailiffs will be prohibited from using force. Furthermore, they will no longer be authorized to enter any debtor’s home between the hours of 9pm and 6am, or when children are alone in the home. New training and certification systems will aim to ensure professionalism, and a fee structure will curb excessive costs. Bailiffs will no longer be authorized to seize property to secure residential rent on behalf of landlords without first receiving authorization from a court.
Furthermore, bailiffs will be trained to recognize particularly vulnerable debtors, who will in turn receive resources and advice.
The bill, which is currently progressing through parliament, arose from the outcome of a government consultation conducted last year to address the problem of overly aggressive bailiffs.
According to the Justice Ministry website, the consultation was necessitated by overly aggressive bailiffs: “Bailiff action by its very nature is intrusive. It is necessary for a bailiff to be assertive and firm if they are to be effective. There is anecdotal evidence that some bailiffs may veer towards aggression in pursuit of effectiveness. It is these elements we need to address.”