Using a Bailiff for the first time


Do you need a Bailiff?

Most people never have dealings with Bailiffs or Enforcement Agents as we are now called. Consequently when they need to reclaim money or reclaim property they are not sure of which type of bailiff to use or how to instruct one.

There are usually three main reasons that you may want to use a bailiff:

  • You need to reclaim money owed
  • You need to reclaim a property
  • You need trespassers removed from your land
Using a Bailiff

Types of Bailiff

There are currently three types of bailiff that deal with these types of cases in England & Wales.

County Court Bailiffs

County Court Bailiffs are salaried civil servants that work for the Ministry of Justice, with a couple usually assigned to each local County Court.

They undertake:

  • mortgage company repossessions
  • landlord repossessions
  • warrants of delivery for finance companies getting cars back
  • small claims warrants under £600

Certificated Enforcement Agents

Certificated Enforcement Agents are appointed by the court but do not work directly for the court.

They were formally known as a Certificated Bailiffs and are the most common type of bailiff.

They work for Private Enforcement Agencies, High Court Enforcement Officers and Local authorities.

  • For local authorities they collect monies for Council Tax, Business Rates, Parking Penalties.
  • For government departments such as the Magistrate Courts they collect fines and make arrests.
  • For the private sector they work for commercial landlords collecting rent arrears, evicting commercial tenants and removing trespassers and squatters from land.

When you have a court judgment for over £600 or a difficult possession claim Certificated Enforcement Agents can execute writs of control and possession if they are authorised by a High Court Enforcement Officer. Most of the Enforcement Agencies have an arrangement with a High Court Enforcement Officer or have one or more on staff.

High Court Enforcement Officers

At the time of writing there are currently 42 High Court Enforcement Officers in England and Wales.

When enforcing a county court judgment in England and Wales if your judgement is below £600 inclusive of costs then you MUST use the County Courts own bailiffs. If the judgment is above £600 you can have your case transferred up from the County Court where you got your Judgment to the High Court for enforcement.

This process is called transferring and the law says that the execution of the writ (warrant) must be completed by a qualified and Certificated Enforcement Agent (formally Bailiff) who is under the supervision of a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

HCEOs are very experienced and well qualified bailiffs who are authorised by the Lord Chancellor to execute judgments and transfer cases up to the High Court. They sit between members of the public and the bailiffs that they employ or contract to. They ensure the conduct of the file through to enforcement or other conclusion.

Quality Enforcement - Quality Bailiffs

Professional Certificated Enforcement Agents should be members of a recognised trade association and carry both professionally indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.

The three main trade associations are:

Some bailiffs are members of more than one association.

Some bailiffs are also investigators and members of the Association of British Investigators, ABI

Unless you are a commercial landlord or have problems with trespassers on land you cannot instruct a bailiff without first of all gaining a court order or judgment.

We can help

This article was written by Andy Coates MABI MCEAA of Quality Bailiffs.

Andy has over twenty five years of experience in the bailiff and investigation industry. He is the current Vice President of the CEAA, and a former governing council member of CIVEA and ABI.

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