Evans v South Ribble Borough Council [1992] QB 757

A liability order was made against Mrs. Evans for unpaid community charge. When the bailiff called at her home she was at work. After speaking to her on the telephone he posted through her letterbox a notice of distress and a draft walking-possession agreement which he had signed. She challenged the validity of this purported levy by issuing a complaint under Regulation 40 of the Community Charge (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1989. The justices held that the authority had validly distrained on the complainant's goods; Mrs. Evans appealed to the High Court and her appeal was allowed and the following practices are questionable when a bailiff makes a levy:

 

Levies of household goods carried out at a bailiff's office or other premises

Levies of cars or other goods conducted merely by driving past premises

Levies on vehicles conducted in communal car parks at blocks of flats and with notices of seizure left by communal entries

Levies based on generic lists of goods without any detailed inspection of premises

Two stage levies which rely in part on the use of "global seizures" of goods by "catch -all" phrases on inventories and

Doorstep levies without full entry

 

This case was a first to deal with "Constructive Levies" and is defined in Paragraph 2 on Page 5 of this Local Government Ombudsman's report.