More draconian legislation from the Blair Government

Beware of getting into debt!

The Lord Chancellor's Office have wholly revised the law relating to debt recovery (among other things) in the Draft of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill which is to be laid before Parliament.

544 pages long with seven parts (which include the explanatory notes)

It is proposed that enforcement officers may use 'reasonable force' in relation to effecting entry onto premises since at the moment Bailiff's may only effect entry onto premises with the invitation of the occupant or affect peaceable entry through an open door or window!

The most draconian provisions are contained within schedule 11 which the explanatory notes 'gloss' over very considerably!

Moreover, they may elicit the assistance of a constable and are absolved from any criminal or civil liability providing they take 'reasonable care' - See draft clause 13(2) of Schedule 11!

See also what will happen to you if you believe an enforcement officer is not taking reasonable care and you obstruct him as you are 'filled in' with 'reasonable care' when your motor car is 'secured'

If you believe that this is a 'Thug's Charter' for Bailiffs now is the time to contact your MP before a vote is taken on it in Parliament!

Legal Action Group have expressed serious concerns:

If you want to see what Baillifs already get up to in the real world then watch 'Whistleblowers' on Tue 26 September 2006 2100 hrs BBC1

Regards and best wishes
No doubt this is aimed at recovering money from those who have failed to pay their council tax, parking fines or television licence.

I think this is a seriously retrograde step. Debt collection agencies and bailiffs need to be much more tightly controlled, not given a 'thug's charter'.

Still, if New Labour don't pay back all those 'loans', perhaps it'll bounce back on them.
ViroBono said:
No doubt this is aimed at recovering money from those who have failed to pay their council tax, parking fines or television licence.

It is not so restricted VB, it will apply to any judgement debt!

Regards and best wishes as always
I particularly dislike the way that this Bill was 'sneaked out' with very little publicity in the media with a closing date for representations against it being 22 September!

Moreover, it does not appear on the list of public bills before Parliament on the Parliamentary website!

All that stands between it and the vulnerable is a 'whipped vote'!
It seems as if the authoritarian state is now in full swing. If this Act goes through Parliament I shall watch with horror how these powers are and will be abused by state sanction, to holding Grannys cat to ransom for default payment notices. Whatever happened to democracy?????
Still, if New Labour don't pay back all those 'loans', perhaps it'll bounce back on them
Notice the cunning plan from 'Fixit' Falconer on this one - it has no application to the recovery of debts owed by the Crown!

The explanatory note on this was rather tongue in cheek since it claims that sufficient enforcement in this area already exists!

That absolves No 10 and the Cabinet - Including 'Fixit'

It does not however absolve the wife of a serving officer or soldier since while in the UK they are within the jurisdicton of the courts!
So you could come home from work and find that your furniture had been taken ? Yet the police are advising Muslim leaders prior to terror raids. A real step back from the rule of law.
Iolis said:
ViroBono said:
No doubt this is aimed at recovering money from those who have failed to pay their council tax, parking fines or television licence.

It is not so restricted VB, it will apply to any judgement debt!

Regards and best wishes as always
I hope it applies to the Liarbour Party and the thugs pursue them for the £27million debts they have!!!! I`m sure they have a "get out clause". This Government is really starting to p*ss me off!!!!
If I ever get myself into that sort of financial situation I'll spend my last few quid on a double barrell and a hacksaw.

Shot in the left, slug in the right.

Somebody's going to come out of it without a head.
The draft of the Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Bill does indeed state that the crown is immune.

It is stated in Part 3 Chapter 3 Paragraph 71:

Application to the crown

But the procedure in Schedule 11 may not be used-

(a) to recover debts due from the crown,

(b) to take control of or sell goods of the crown (including goods owned by the crown jointly or in common with another person, or

(c) to enter the premises occupied by the crown.

I note that the definition of the crown includes Parliament, government ministers and its servants. Generally core central government department’s fall within the definition of the Crown.

Perhaps someone could obtain/supply the legal definition of the crown.

I have mentioned before in previous posts my concerns over the new powers of arrest and that there seems to be an evolving two tiered criminal justice system which is AGAIN highlighted within this pending legislation.

Is this yet another “get out” clause introduced by the Lord Chancellor to avoid high ranking accountability?

What is the legal definition of crown???

Responses appreciated.
Just watched the programme on BBC1.

The mentality of these 'officers of the court' beggars belief!

"its not lying it's blagging' says one who considers all debtors as scum"

Another 'officer of the court' giving his reasons why no bailiff is ever disciplined gives an explanation: "whose going to believe a debtor" who makes a complaint, they've broken the law anyway so who'se going to believe them - they cannot provide evidence, the court needs evidence!".

The legal ignorance of the Metropolitan Police called by a person not even subject to a debt in the face of blatant lying about the existing powers was absolutely mind-blowing'.

It may arise out of a civil matter but it becomes very much a criminal matter in the face of attempted theft from an innocent person - bend your shoulder officer so I can read your collar-bade number!

Can anyone imagine giving characters such as 'Steve'. Yow', 'Ronnie' - employees of 'Drakes' and CCS Enforcement Services' the enforcement powers under the proposed legislation!

Threatening children that their mother would be sent to prison, illegal clamping, recovering money from people who are not even debtors, breaking and entering, criminal damage, theft, uncertified bailiffs getting by on 50 or so forged signed receipts from existing Bailiffs, blatant misrepresentation of existing powers!

I like the fact that on at least two occasions they were faced down by those who sought to challenge them by one pretty robust man and one woman the latter of whom had the presence of mind to ring a solicitor and was refunded the money illegally taken from her but what about the single mum on benefits who cannot afford a TV licence or a 60-year old impoverished pensioner who, on her fixed income has fallen behind on her Council Tax - people regarded as 'scum' by those who run the industry?

'Wont' payers with the means and ability to pay I have little sympathy for, but those who 'cannot' are surely going to be subjected to some pretty horrific state sponsored violence by 'officers of the Court!

With gun crime prevalent in Britain, I do not give much for the chances for any bailiff trying to use 'reasonable force' around some of the rougher areas of Manchester such as Mosside, or in Liverpool such as Toxteth - not unless they are 'tooled up' first!

Or even worse around the married quarter of some hairy-arrsed Para or Tom!
When you consider these new powers in the light of increasing identity theft they seem pretty scary. If the first thing you know about it, is a knuckle rubbing Neanderthal barging into your house to rob your possessions, then I think that I would follow Bisuits solution and worry later.
I also note in the draft legislative document this:

Part 3 Para 45

Enforcement Agents

1. This section and section 46 apply for the purposes of Schedule 11.

2. An individual may act as an enforcement agent only if one of these applies:

a. He acts under a certificate under Section 46;
b. He is exempt;
c. He acts in the presence and under the direction of a person to whom paragraphs (a) or (b) apply.

This presumably would mean that the legal enforcement officer can be escorted by two criminally minded heavies ready to inflict "reasonable" violence to extract the debt plus a bit of extra on the side as highlighted in "whistleblower".

Call me old fashioned, but is this not extortion and theft through intimidatory means. State endorsed legalised thuggery is about to become part of the norm in this "thin vieled democracy".

I for one, have already written to my MP about this issue.
The Lord Chancellor's Office has no executive power. The white paper has to go before the house and get voted on before it even becomes a green paper then it gets voted on again, then it has to go to the Lords for final approval.
GDav said:
The Lord Chancellor's Office has no executive power. The white paper has to go before the house and get voted on before it even becomes a green paper then it gets voted on again, then it has to go to the Lords for final approval.
Let us not forget, this Government is renowned for fast tracking new laws.

To highlight this rapid introduction of "new legislation" from draft to law:

September 15 2005
Draft terrorism bill published. Anyone who "glorifies, exalts or celebrates" any terrorist act committed over the past 20 years could face a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Agreeing to demands from the police the government says it will extend detention of terrorist suspects without charge from 14 days to 90.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats voice strong concerns about detention period. Mark Oaten says the proposal is "totally unacceptable".
Made Law.
March 30 2006
Terrorism bill made law. Identity Cards Act made law.
This is a timeline of 6 months. The draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill was published on 25 July 2006. The closing dates for comments was the 22nd Sep 06 which has been missed by the majority due to lack of media coverage and public awareness. After passing votes and being fast tracked this bill may become law as soon as January.

I am sceptical as to the reasons for the draft being realised on the exact day of the Parliamentary summer recess (25th Jul 06), and the fact that closing comments are required prior to the House returning on 9 Oct 06.

Not much debating on this Bill??????

This may become law as soon as January, hence there should be a sense of urgency to fully address concerns over parts of this draft bill.
If you feel you are in the right and a thug like stranger you have never seen before is trying to push his way into your home and you have children in the house then just slug the gentleman.
This extract from Magna Carta News discussing for example, the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill - colloquially dubbed 'The Abolition of Parliament Bill:

"As things are now, once the government publishes a new Bill, the odds are stacked in its favour. The government dominates the House of Commons, and thus dominates the committees and can get its way, most of the time, on procedural matters. Even getting opposing amendments tabled and voted upon requires a head of steam to be built up, and getting them properly debated, let alone passed, usually requires the governing party to be split and/or to have a small majority.
The government also pushes through so much legislation each year it is impossible for an MP to keep up with it all. Thus MPs will tend to specialise on a few bills (if they care), and otherwise act as lobby fodder — they won’t make decisions independent of their party whips unless there’s an extremely controversial measure that splits one or more of the parties or it an area they care about.

The end result is that much legislation ends up guillotined with amendments falling by the wayside, and much of the original bill having been undebated and possibly unread by most MPs."
Full article here:

This from the Tory (bear in mind that the Tory's used the guillotine in precisely the same way they seek to criticise from opposition) Ian Duncan Smith who gives a short account of the reason why the guillotine was introduced into Parliament in the first place and how it's use has now become almost routine:

The longer and more complex the Bill, the greater the chunks that hit the guillotine and simply pass through on a vote without a debate - perhaps this is why they are so lengthy and complex. I therefore entertain some serious reservations relating to the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Bill and in particular, draft Schedules 11 and 12.

The Government would seek to argue that they have published the Bill in draft form prior at the pre-legislative phase in order to secure greater public involvement and scrutiny. However, 'Fixit' Falconer has 'form' in manipulating Parliamentary procedure to force through controversial clauses in Bills which become extremely bad law and end up through the appellate system and into the House of Lords. He even tried at one stage to manipulate the composition of the Lords of Appeal n Ordinary (the Law Lords) on a particular piece of legislation by attempting to ensure that those he considered more likely to overturn it did not sit to hear it!

Falconer is a slippery and Machiavellian customer and the 'Guillotine' is simply one of the many methods available!

There are many others!

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