Bailiffs should have powers curbed claims MP

June 3, 2009 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

by Amy Bourke

A Labour MP has called for bailiff’s powers to be curbed dramatically.

Ms Karen Buck (Regent’s Park and Kensington North) said bailiffs should be better monitored and made more accountable, in an attempt to curb traumatic repossessions of goods during the recession.

The suggestions were made during a reading of Ms Buck’s ten minute rule bill to Parliament.

They include requiring bailiffs to return cases involving vulnerable and impoverished debtors to the courts or the creditors, and making sure bailiffs act “proportionately” when collecting criminal fines.

Ms Buck said: “Many of the criminal fines are levied on people on low incomes for offences such as the non-payment of TV licenses, fare dodging and truancy. These are indeed offences, and it is only right that if an offence is deemed to have occurred, a penalty must be applied.

“However, the issue here, too, is one of proportionality, in terms of the sums involved and the manner of the enforcement deployed.”

Ordinary people would be able to apply for a bailiff acting inappropriately to be suspended under the plans, and bailiffs would be forced to accept “affordable repayments.”

Ms Buck also slammed her own Westminster Council for making “too liberal a use of bailiffs” and said: “It has certainly not developed the comprehensive advice and debt service that the local population needs.”

She went on to criticise the “excessive harshness” of the powers for bailiffs in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, and called for them to be repealed, despite the fact that they have never been implemented.

The Bill was presented by ten other MPs and will be read for the second time on Friday 16th October 2009. Few ten minute rule bills ever become law.

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Entry filed under: Commons. Tags: , , , .

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