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Consumers will benefit from new rules unveiled today to strengthen controls on the certification of bailiffs, and ...
Consumers will benefit from new rules unveiled today to strengthen controls on the certification of bailiffs, and also to increase public understanding of the role of bailiffs and sheriffs' officers.

The Lord Chancellor's Department, following consultation last year, has announced measures to increase security checks before bailiffs are granted a certificate to practice.

All applicants will in future have to place adverts in local newspapers announcing their intention to apply for a bailiff's certificate, besides their details being exhibited in public areas of courts. The public will be able to make representations to the court on the suitability of candidates for certification.

Other measures to tighten procedures will include abolition of the Bailiff's Special Certificate (allowing a person to act on a specific matter), reducing the number of County Courts able to issue certificates and new application forms.

All of these measures apply to bailiffs holding, or wishing to hold a certificate under the Distress for Rent Rules 1988 - as yet, not all bailiffs require a court authorised certifcate to act as a bailiff. A more wide ranging review of the powers of bailiffs and the laws controlling these was set in train by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, earlier this year.

A new information leaflet is being produced which will give the public a clearer idea of the work of bailiffs, and also how they can go about complaining if they are aggrieved over a bailiff's conduct.


1. The new rules came into force today. A copy of the rules (Statutory Instrument SI 1999 No.2360 (L.17)) will be available from HMSO.

2. The study reviewing bailiff laws and powers set up by the Lord Chancellor is being headed by Professor Jack Beatson QC, director of he Cambridge Centre for Public Law. Professor Beatson's wide ranging report is due to be presented to Ministers in June 2000.

3. More generally, the Lord Chancellor announced a wider review of the enforcement of civil court judgments in March last year.

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