The government has announced that new laws to tackle aggressive bailiffs are to be introduced in England and Wales next year.
Bailiffs will be forbidden to enter homes at night, or properties where there are only children present, and they will also be prevented from using any physical contact when dealing with people who owe money.
Bailiffs will also be stopped from fixing their own fees, by the introduction of a fixed scale of fees.
Martin Leyshon, chairman of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, said:
“We believe that the system is very archaic in England and Wales. As an association we fully support the government’s attempts to sort out the problem of aggressive bailiffs.”
The Civil Enforcement Association called it a “small step forward”. it said:
“The industry has been pressing for reform for nearly 30 years and we feel these are long overdue. We look forward to their early introduction”
Justice minister Helen Grant said a small minority of bailiffs had been able to give the industry a bad name.
She also said the fees charged were sometimes “extortionate”.
Mrs Grant said:
“Bailiffs will not be able to use force against the person and they will not be able to enter any homes with just children there.
“There are some very good bailiffs around, don’t get me wrong – but it is being reported to us from MPs and other organisations that there is bad practice, and we need to deal with it.”