Magicians Choice (getting out of bailiffs fees)


Regulation 45(3)(4) & (5) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 states;

(3) If, before any goods are seized, the appropriate amount (including charges arising up to the time of the payment or tender) is paid or tendered to the authority, the authority shall accept the amount and the levy shall not be proceeded with.

(4) Where an authority has seized goods of the debtor in pursuance of the distress, but before sale of those goods the appropriate amount (including charges arising up to the time of the payment or tender) is paid or tendered to the authority, the authority shall accept the amount, the sale shall not be proceeded with and the goods shall be made available for collection by the debtor.

(5) The person levying distress on behalf of an authority shall carry with him the written authorisation of the authority, which he shall show to the debtor if so requested; and he shall hand to the debtor or leave at the premises where the distress is levied a copy of this regulation and Schedule 5 and a memorandum setting out the appropriate amount, and shall hand to the debtor a copy of any close or walking possession agreement entered into.


Paragraph 58 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 states

58(1)This paragraph applies where the debtor pays the amount outstanding in full—

(a)after the enforcement agent has taken control of goods, and

(b)before they are sold or abandoned.

(2)If the enforcement agent has removed the goods he must as soon as reasonably practicable make them available for collection by the debtor.

(3)No further step may be taken under the enforcement power concerned.

(4)For the purposes of this paragraph the amount outstanding is reduced by the value of any controlled goods consisting of money required to be used to pay that amount, and sub-paragraph (2) does not apply to that money.


Paragraph 31 of the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014 states;

Enforcement agents must not seek to enforce the recovery of fees where an enforcement power has ceased to be exercisable.




When you have paid the creditor direct, you must notify the bailiff in writing under paragraph 59(2) of schedule 12.



It is called Magicians Choice because it doesn't matter whether the council declines your payment or accepts it. Either way it stops enforcement and can get you out of paying bailiffs fees.

You need:

A witness

Mobile phone with a camera

Letter based on the sample template below

Cash to pay the outstanding council tax

Two identical documents based on the template below and take cash and a witness to the council tax payment office.


If the council accepts payment ask for a receipt. Hand a copy to the bailiff through your letterbox or window if he returns.

If the council declines your payment then ask the council to confirm payment declined by completing Part A. If they refuse to sign then you take the form back, sign Part B in their presence and your witness then pass the form to your witness to sign.

Complete two copies of Part B and hand a copy to the council employee and take his photograph as proof of knowledge & delivery.

If you are summonsed to a committal to prison proceeding then take the document and photograph to court and present it to the magistrate as proof of discharge.

Magicians choice: Complete either Part A or Bart B but not both.


Just in case, a court refuses video evidence to be given, make a sworn statement as backup. Here is a template sworn statement.




The Postal Way - applies to any kind of debt (except court fines)


1. Write a cheque for the "amount outstanding" . The amount outstanding is the sum ordered by the court excluding bailiffs FEES but including bailiffs COSTS in connection with taking and selling your goods - provided he has taken control of them.

2. Make a copy of the cheque for your file.

3. Send it in an envelope to the council with their reference number(s) by recorded delivery and keep the tracking number receipt.

4. Give the bailiff company a paragraph 59 notice (above) and send it by text to the bailiff's mobile.



You have "tendered" the amount outstanding to the creditor or council. It doesn't matter of the envelope is returned refused to sign, or the council refuses to bank the cheque. Paragraph 6(3)(a) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 now applies;


6(1)For the purposes of any enforcement power the property in goods of the debtor ceases to be bound in accordance with this paragraph.

(2)The property in any goods ceases to be bound—

(a)when the goods are sold;

(b)in the case of money used to pay any of the amount outstanding, when it is used.

(3)The property in all goods ceases to be bound when any of these happens

(a)the amount outstanding is paid, out of the proceeds of sale or otherwise;

(b)the instrument under which the power is exercisable ceases to have effect;

(c)the power ceases to be exercisable for any other reason.

If an enforcement step is taken after sending payment to the council, or creditor, then you can bring an action under Paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which states; (highlighted)


66(1)This paragraph applies where an enforcement agent

(a)breaches a provision of this Schedule, or

(b)acts under an enforcement power under a writ, warrant, liability order or other instrument that is defective.

(2)The breach or defect does not make the enforcement agent, or a person he is acting for, a trespasser.

(3)But the debtor may bring proceedings under this paragraph.

(4)Subject to rules of court, the proceedings may be brought

(a)in the High Court, in relation to an enforcement power under a writ of the High Court;

(b)in a county court, in relation to an enforcement power under a warrant issued by a county court;

(c)in any other case, in the High Court or a county court.

(5)In the proceedings the court may—

(a)order goods to be returned to the debtor;

(b)order the enforcement agent or a related party to pay damages in respect of loss suffered by the debtor as a result of the breach or of anything done under the defective instrument.

(6)A related party is either of the following (if different from the enforcement agent)—

(a)the person on whom the enforcement power is conferred,

(b)the creditor.

(7)Sub-paragraph (5) is without prejudice to any other powers of the court.

(8)Sub-paragraph (5)(b) does not apply where the enforcement agent acted in the reasonable belief—

(a)that he was not breaching a provision of this Schedule, or

(b)(as the case may be) that the instrument was not defective.

(9)This paragraph is subject to paragraph 59 in the case of a breach of paragraph 58(3).



Here is how to bring a claim in the small claims court