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Bailiffs are not “Unregulated”, But More Can Be Done

Our CEO, Claire Sandbrook, comments on BAFTA Awards in London last night and the comments made by one particular award category.

“I enjoy watching the BAFTAs, as many of us do, but I picked up on the comment made by the lead actor in the winner of the “Single Drama” award for “Killed by my debt” (see

The actor commented loudly from the stage that the bailiff industry is “unregulated”. Using the platform of this blog I wanted to remind our readers and the world at large that the bailiff industry in England and Wales is a regulated industry which continues to be under Government review. To say otherwise takes us back to the very gloomy picture painted by another TV show back in 2006 in which bailiffs were seen clambering up ladders and through windows to gain access. My view is that those days are well and truly behind us.

That is not to say that more shouldn’t be done to improve the understanding and practical application of the raft of regulations which were passed by Parliament in 2013 and 2014. Those agencies that support debtors will always highlight the worst of bailiff behavior to justify improving the law. I happen to agree with that. We all learn from complaints and these decisions highlight areas to be improved. Enforcement has always been an area of law that evolves and is driven forward by the case law of individual cases. So be it – sometimes the case law will be for the enforcement agent, and sometimes it will be against. Either way no enforcement agent or High Court Enforcement Officer is above the law.

The recent output from the Justice Select Committee wants to build on the regulatory framework to appoint a regulator, and independent complaints regulator and to have a clear policy on body worn cameras. Those of us who operate to uphold the law should support all these requirements. We cannot be regulated by our peers, through professional Associations. We must have independent regulation. This is vital where we continue to be judged by agencies who look after the interests of people in debt.

As for the BAFTA I find it very sad that the death of a young man through his personal debt situation should be the subject of an Award. His passing shines a light on the need for deeper support for people in debt. Enforcement should not be the cause of a person taking their own life, but it can be a cry for help and all of us need to be very aware of this”.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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