Carte Blanche For Dodgy Bailiffs

March 20, 2007 3:49 PM

Commenting today, on the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill that is going through the Committee Stage in its passage through the Commons, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central who is sitting on the Committee, said:

"Some bailiffs have an appalling track record of abusing the powers that they already have, breaking the law and ignoring industry codes and standards. As one debt adviser said, 'they are a law unto themselves'.

"Just 5 months ago, a Citizen's Advice Bureaux report showed that almost two-thirds of bailiffs were guilty of harassment or intimidation of debtors. 40% had misrepresented their powers of entry and one quarter had threatened debtors with imprisonment.

"In nearly half the cases, bailiffs charged excessive fees leaving the vulnerable debtor in a far worse financial situation than before.

"Although this bill will help in some of these cases, I'm concerned that the Government still won't agree to introduce a comprehensive code of conduct. Such a code would protect both bailiffs who are doing their job properly and vulnerable debtors, such as single women and young people.

"The Government needs to properly protect the rights of the vulnerable. By rejecting our proposals in Committee today, they are neglecting the needs of some of the most needy in Society."

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