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No Longer My Castle

Bailiffs get power to use force on debtors - Times Online
Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog. However, the laws are being criticised as the latest erosion of the rights of the householder in his own home.

“These laws strip away tried and tested protections that make a person’s home his castle, and which have stood for centuries,” said Paul Nicolson, chairman of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, a London-based welfare charity. “They could clearly lead to violent confrontations and undermine fundamental liberties.”

Bailiffs have for hundreds of years been denied powers to break into homes for civil debt or to use force against debtors, except in self-defence. In a famous declaration, William Pitt the Elder, the 18th-century prime minister, said: “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown.”

More power to bailiffs is a thugs' charter | Ross Clark - Times Online
...Envying the freedoms enjoyed by 17th-century Englishmen. .. a clause buried inside the Victims of Crime and Domestic Violence Act 2004, giving bailiffs the right to break open the doors of debtors' homes. Not satisfied with that piece of legislation, the Government now wants to give bailiffs the right to push debtors from their doorways, drag them off their televisions and ease their grip on their children's dolls houses. The proposals are just a thugs' charter. Anyone can be a bailiff, you can be finishing a jail sentence for manslaughter one day and be out battering down doors on behalf of a debt-collection agency the next.
It is extraordinary how less free citizens are in this respect than they were 400 years ago. Medieval laws against overbearing bailiffs were confirmed in a case in 1604 between one Peter Semayne and the heirs of his deceased business partner George Beriford, with whom he owned a house in Blackfriars. The court ruled that the only agent empowered to break the lock on a citizen's door was a sheriff acting on behalf of the King. Last year a petition was presented to Number 10 pointing out that the Government had succeeded in reversing an ancient law protecting us against bands of privateers. In its attempt to defend this loss of liberty, No 10 replied by arguing that the 1604 Act discriminated against the poor, who “couldn't afford locks”.

That's all right then. We now live in a country where bailiffs can batter down our doors before making off with our possessions, but at least there is no discrimination against the poor. Forget to pay a parking fine or overlook a credit card bill and we are all equally at risk of waking up to hear our front doors being splintered by a bull-necked debt-collector.

Won't be abused, overseen by watchdog, my arse. Anyone laying a hand on my best china could very easily be mistaken for a burglar and reasonable steps taken to prevent him getting away with it.

Comments

Well mistakes happen. Due a typo or a communication problem a credit bailiff could very well break into a house and make off with some innocent persons house hole goods and injure them in the process.

"Bailiffs break into No. 10 and reposes Minister Brown's false teeth, prosthetic penile implant, and a kidney."
"Bailiffs claim all the paperwork was in order, and just because someone is dressed as a bobby doesn't mean they are one."

If a company wants to send baliffs in to repossess stuff to pay a debt then they can already do that without this law. They can apply for a warrant and if the occupant refuses them entry they can return with the police who can force entry. There is no need for a new law to streamline the process, it's streamlined enough.

The police won't need to come now; they can sit happily at their desks drinking tea or in their cars texting their mates.

Won't be abused. Overseen by watchdog. Yeah... just like RIPA was!

Very good spot, didn't see this one break into the news.

These powers will be abused, the government will defend them, civil liberties groups will be up in arms - where have I heard this all before?.....

Found out all about bailiffs approach to due diligence after buying a repossession years ago..

Three months after we moved in got a bang on the door from a complete knuckle dragger - black leather jacket, tattoos, halitosis, room temp IQ.

He was chasing previous owner - on behalf of the mortgage co that had already repossessed the property from that previous owner then sold it to me!

Tried to blag his way past my wife at porch door and got short shrift from me at inner door; if I hadn't been in i've got no doubt i'd be minus a home cinema and PCs - and anything else he'd spotted.

The worst bit was some digging showed it was *his* firm that had carried out the repossession in the first place - so he had to have been chancing it.

It's a train wreck in the making to hand over more power to an industry which has a deservedly terrible reputation for wielding what powers they do have already.

It's been said that the developed world is addicted to credit. As I watch the current crisis unfold one thing has become apparent to me: it's not the people who are addicted - it's the governments.

This law, along with several others passed on both sides of the Atlantic, has the sole aim of eliminating any checks on providing people with spending cash. Even if that means lending money to people who cannot afford to pay you back. After all why would anyone go to the bother, and expense, of running credit checks on borrowers when they know they'll be able to barge into your house and take whatever they can lay their hands on?

Which, strangely enough, is what got us into this feckin mess in the first place.

prediction for first use of these powers ?

refusal or inability to pay council tax.

It's time to hang some councilmen.

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