4/12/2007UK Government to Break Into Homes Over Parking Tickets
The UK parliament is considering legislation to allow forcible entry into homes to recover parking ticket debt.
The UK parliament is considering legislation that would authorize bailiffs to break into the homes of motorists accused of not paying parking tickets. Under legislation currently making its way through the House of Commons, bailiffs would seize items out of the home in order to pay off the amount owed in tickets, plus hefty fees. Any homeowner attempting to stop the bailiff would face up to a year in prison.
"The bill as it stands will overturn two fundamental principles of our common law on bailiffs' power to enter private property: that bailiffs may only enter peaceably and with the permission of the debtor," said Conservative Member of Parliament Henry Bellingham. "Those rights are fundamental. That force may not be used to effect entry has been established in law since at least the 14th century."
In 2005, the Labour government announced its intention to create a National Enforcement Service to break into homes to recover unpaid fines. Various amendments have been offered to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill to soften the effect of the proposal. One amendment would forbid bailiffs from seizing household pets as well as, "any dog on which a blind person relies."
Excerpts from the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill [HL]
Part 3 Enforcement by taking control of goods
Enforcement by taking control of goods
(1) Schedule 12 applies where an enactment, writ or warrant confers power to use the procedure in that Schedule (taking control of goods and selling them to recover a sum of money).
(2) The power conferred by a writ or warrant of control to recover a sum of money, and any power conferred by a writ or warrant of possession or delivery to take control of goods and sell them to recover a sum of money, is exercisable only by using that procedure.
(3) Schedule 13—
(a) amends some powers previously called powers to distrain, so that they become powers to use that procedure;
(b) makes other amendments relating to Schedule 12 and to distress or execution.
(4) The following are renamed—
(a) writs of fieri facias, except writs of fieri facias de bonis ecclesiasticis, are renamed writs of control;
(b) warrants of execution are renamed warrants of control;
(c) warrants of distress, unless the power they confer is exercisable only against specific goods, are renamed warrants of control.
Other provisions about powers of entry
The power to enter and any power to use force are subject to any restriction imposed by or under regulations.
A power to use force does not include power to use force against persons, except to the extent that regulations provide that it does.