Debt Collection

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd December 2015.

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Photo of Rehman Chishti Rehman Chishti Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what (a) regulations and (b) guidance apply to Sheriffs breaking into commercial properties to recover debts.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The rules governing the power to enter a commercial property for enforcement by taking control of goods are contained in Schedule 12 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Enforcement under a High Court Writ, which was the responsibility of Sheriffs, is now carried out by High Court Enforcement Officers pursuant to the High Court Enforcement Officers Regulations 2004. Paragraphs 14 to 30 of Schedule 12 (as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013) make provision concerning powers of entry for the purposes of enforcement, and paragraphs 18A and 19 make provision specifically in relation to the power to use reasonable force to enter premises at which the enforcement officer reasonably believes the debtor carries on a trade or a business. The Ministry of Justice has produced guidance, the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards, to support creditors and enforcement agents and promote minimum standards. It is available on the website.

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