UK legislation expands debt collectors' powers
Monday, December 22, 2008
The United Kingdom Parliament is planning to expand the powers of bailiffs in pursuit of unpaid debts. While the new measures are not yet officially active, bailiffs are expected to soon be able to use force in entering debtors' homes and restraining them.
The preemptive crackdown was introduced with predictions of hundreds of thousands of British citizens losing their homes to credit companies as the international financial crisis grows worse.
Previous to the proposed laws, bailiffs were not allowed to break into or enter homes unless the debtor was already there, or as a last resort. Force was also prohibited unless in self defense.
Justice Lord Bach stated the Act would not be made active until after Parliament had finished extensive consulting, and that the new powers of bailiffs would be carefully monitored.
Civil rights activists like Paul Nicolson of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, however, have heavily criticized the new laws, accusing them of destroying fundamental civil rights and stripping away "tried and tested protections that make a person's home his castle and which have stood for centuries".
A government spokesman said the Parliament was considering its options for implementing the new laws and would make an announcement soon.
- Robert Winnett. "Bailiffs to be allowed to use 'reasonable force' against debtors" — , December 21, 2008
- Brian Brady. "Bailiffs may get extra powers to enter homes" — , December 21, 2008
- Jon Ungoed-Thomas. "Bailiffs get power to use force on debtors" — , December 21, 2008
- "New powers proposed for debt collectors" — , December 21, 2008