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14 January, 2021 Open access

Public and Commercial Services Union calls for HMCTS to immediately suspend all bailiff enforcement activity during current lockdown

Union responds to increasing concerns from its HMCTS bailiff members that they fear for their safety in the current lockdown

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has called on Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to immediately suspend all bailiff enforcement activity during the current lockdown.

While the government introduced legislation in England and Wales in April 2020 to prevent enforcement agents taking control of goods in prescribed circumstances during the first Covid-19 lockdown, further legislation that came into effect on 24 June 2020 meant that the ban on bailiff door-step activity in all matters except enforcement of possession orders was lifted from 24 August 2020.

With face-to-face bailiff enforcement activity permitted since then, including through the current ‘stay at home’ lockdown in England, the PCS highlights that its bailiff members are increasingly raising safety concerns -

‘Whilst bailiffs possess more issued personal protective equipment (PPE) than the first lockdown and have been effective in using that PPE within the limitations of the tiered covid instructions from HMCTS, on entering tier 4 and more concerning tier 5, bailiffs have understandably become more concerned for their own safety.’

In addition, the PCS says that HMCTS has failed to consult with union reps about its decision to continue bailiff operations in the current national lockdown in England and has not consulted on its updated guidance on enforcement activities.

As a result, the PCS has written to the Ministry of Justice (the employer of HMCTS bailiffs) calling for the immediate suspension of all activity for the duration of the current lockdown.

For more information, see PCS Calls for immediate suspension of bailiff enforcement activity.