Observer Ltd v Gordon [1983] 2 ALL ER 945, 949

The case of Observer Ltd v Gordon [1983], demonstrated that it is "not reasonable" to expect the bailiff to make enquiries as to ownership.


This case ruled that if a bailiff has a reasonable belief that the goods that he lists on a walking-possession are owned by you, then these goods can be seized.

From July 2012 this ruling applies only to items within the household but not motor vehicles. A Local Government Ombudsman ruling now requires bailiffs to check with the DVLA to establish ownership of the vehicle before it can be seized. See paragraph 8 of the LGO report.

To conclude, the onus of proof is on you and not the bailiff, to prove that the goods are not yours.

This can be done by having the owner make a sworn statement of truth proving that person is the owner and not the debtor.


Make a sworn statement to prove who owns a vehicle.


Prove ownership of non-vehicular goods