The reforms in Debt Collection regulations which became effective last week are delivered through the implementation of Part 3 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (the TCE Act) and its supplementary regulations. The new changes regulate what a Certificated Enforcement Agent can do and must do (e.g. what goods an enforcement agent can / cannot seize and sell, how they may enter a property, what fees they may charge and what notices they must send). The introduction of the TCE Act does not change what a County Court bailiff must do, but it has resulted in a number of small changes to our court procedures, for example, if a bailiff takes possession of goods, the court cannot sell them for 7 days; previously the court could not sell them for 6 days.
Besides the law, the terms used in enforcement is modernised and unified, namely:
- “Warrants of Execution” becomes “Warrants of Control”
- “Wrist of Fieri Facias (Fi Fa)” becomes “Wrists of Control1”
- “Levy” becomes “Taking control of goods”
- “Walking possession agreement” becomes “Controlled goods agreement”
- “Judgement Creditor” becomes “Judgement Creditor or Creditor”
- “Judgement Debtor” becomes “Judgement Debtor or Debtor”
- “Certificated Bailiffs” becomes “Certificated Enforcement Agents”
- “High Court Enforcement Office” remains the same
- “County Court Bailiff” remains the same
Some small changes to the way in which Certificated Enforcement Agent applications will be handled within the County Court are also included in the TCE Act. They are:
- All applications must file at the County Court Business Centre at Northampton; staff there will check the application and send the paperwork to the appropriate County Court hearing centre.
- District Judges and Circuit Judges will be able to hear Certificated Enforcement Agent applications, hearings will continue to be in open court.
- Complaints will continue to be handled by the County Court hearing centre that issued the certificate.
- The number of County Court hearing centres that will hear these Certificated Enforcement Agent applications has been reduced to build experience and capability at those hearing centres.
- New training requirements have been established for new applicants.
- New application forms have been introduced.
In addition, these reforms include significant changes of the current law on distress for commercial rent arrears, which enables landlords to recover rent arrears without going to court, with a new modified “out of court” regime called Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.
For further information please contact Graeme Weir.
Topics: Debt Collection and Recovery