The bailiff said he has a "warrant"

Enforcement of council tax is by way of a LIABILITY ORDER.

 

Bailiffs often say "warrant" because it is more police-like, and misleads a debtor they have a power to enter premises.

A liability order only confers a power to take control of goods. It is not authoirty to enter premises.

 

Regulation 34 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 states;

Application for liability order

34.—(1) If an amount which has fallen due under regulation 23(3) or (4) is wholly or partly unpaid, or (in a case where a final notice is required under regulation 33) the amount stated in the final notice is wholly or partly unpaid at the expiry of the period of 7 days beginning with the day on which the notice was issued, the billing authority may, in accordance with paragraph (2), apply to a magistrates' court for an order against the person by whom it is payable.

(2) The application is to be instituted by making complaint to a justice of the peace, and requesting the issue of a summons directed to that person to appear before the court to show why he has not paid the sum which is outstanding.

(3) Section 127(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980(1) does not apply to such an application; but no application may be instituted in respect of a sum after the period of six years beginning with the day on which it became due under Part V.

(4) A warrant shall not be issued under section 55(2) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 in any proceedings under this regulation.

(5) If, after a summons has been issued in accordance with paragraph (2) but before the application is heard, there is paid or tendered to the authority an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a)the sum specified in the summons as the sum outstanding or so much of it as remains outstanding (as the case may be); and

(b)a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in connection with the application up to the time of the payment or tender,

the authority shall accept the amount and the application shall not be proceeded with.

(6) The court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the defendant and has not been paid.

(7) An order made pursuant to paragraph (6) shall be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a)the sum payable, and

(b)a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the order.

(8) Where the sum payable is paid after a liability order has been applied for under paragraph (2) but before it is made, the court shall nonetheless (if so requested by the billing authority) make the order in respect of a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in making the application.

 

 

A bailiff saying he has a warrant when he has not, commits an offence under section 40(1)(d) of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 which states;

 

40 Punishment for unlawful harassment of debtors.

(1)A person commits an offence if, with the object of coercing another person to pay money claimed from the other as a debt due under a contract, he—

(a)harasses the other with demands for payment which, in respect of their frequency or the manner or occasion of making any such demand, or of any threat or publicity by which any demand is accompanied, are calculated to subject him or members of his family or household to alarm, distress or humiliation;

(b)falsely represents, in relation to the money claimed, that criminal proceedings lie for failure to pay it;

(c)falsely represents himself to be authorised in some official capacity to claim or enforce payment; or

(d)utters a document falsely represented by him to have some official character or purporting to have some official character which he knows it has not.

(2)A person may be guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1)(a) above if he concerts with others in the taking of such action as is described in that paragraph, notwithstanding that his own course of conduct does not by itself amount to harassment.

(3)Subsection (1)(a) above does not apply to anything done by a person which is reasonable (and otherwise permissible in law) for the purpose—

(a)of securing the discharge of an obligation due, or believed by him to be due, to himself or to persons for whom he acts, or protecting himself or them from future loss; or

(b)of the enforcement of any liability by legal process.

 

The bailiff can be prosecuted for this offence