When is a Bailiff not a Bailiff?

When he’s a High Court Enforcement Officer…

Did you know there are several different types of bailiffs?

We often receive calls asking for advice, clients wanting to know what enforcement options are available and the differences between them.  It seems to be a bit of grey area for those outside of the industry, and we regularly receive enquiries from clients wanting advice but not necessarily knowing what kind of bailiff or enforcement service they need.

We thought we would break it down so that those looking for Bailiffs and Enforcement Services can clearly understand the enforcement options available to them.

Here we go…

  • Certificated Bailiffs – Employed by private companies, Certificated Bailiffs can enforce commercial rent arrears and  local authority debts (like council tax or parking fines).  Certificated Bailiffs can seize goods and sell them to cover the amount of the debt owed. The certificate they hold enables them to levy distress for rent, road traffic debts, council tax and non-domestic rates. They cannot enforce the collection of money due under High Court or county court orders.
  • County Court Bailiffs – Employed by Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service, County Court Bailiffs are responsible for enforcing County Court orders by recovering money owed under County Court Judgments. County Court Bailiffs can seize goods, sell them to recover the amount of the debt as well as serve court documents and enforce County Court orders for possession (for recovery of land or property) and orders for delivery (of goods belonging to another).
  • High Court Enforcement Officers – Authorised by the Lord Chancellor, High Court Enforcement Officers are able to execute High Court writs of execution. They are privately employed officers of the High Court. High Court Enforcement Officers or their designated Enforcement Officer teams routinely enforce County Court judgments that are transferred to the High Court for enforcement. High Court Enforcement Officers can seize goods and sell them to cover the amount owing under most types of County Court judgment (when transferred to the High Court) Enforce  other types of order in the High Court, including writs of possession and delivery (as above). 
  • Private Bailiffs / Debt Collection Agents – Private Bailiffs or Debt Collection Agents will generally be employed by a private debt collection agency, acting on behalf of a creditor.  Private bailiffs will generally not have the power to seize or remove goods belonging to a debtor. Instead, they are often used by creditors to try to resolve debt issues without going to court and incurring the time and expense of litigation and enforcement.

We hope that this explains a little more about the different types of bailiffs that exist and what each type of bailiff can do. Please feel free to give us a call if you need more help.