Abandoned levy, sometimes called "Levy Abandonment"

Regulations do not define levy abandonment but an authorative definition of levy abandonment is available in the judgment of Bannister v Hyde [1860] 2 E&E 627. The judge said- "If the bailiff levies on goods then leaves the premises without a signed walking-possession agreement is evidence the levy has been abandoned". A walking possession agreement is now a Regulation 15 Controlled Goods Agreement.

 

Paragraph 54 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and Regulation 47 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 sets the rules bailiffs must follow in the event of abandoning the levy.

How the law says seizure of goods MUST work.

 

1. You are given a Notice of Enforcement at least seven clear days excluding Sundays and Public Holidays. Regulation 6 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013

 

2. Bailiff attends and one of the following can happen.

You pay the debt and statutory fees. The bailiff leaves, case closed.

The bailiff makes an Inventory of goods and makes out a compliant regulation 15 Controlled Goods Agreement and you must sign it.

Leave a person on the premises with the goods or vehicle until either the above is done. This arrangement is called a "Closed Possession"

 

If any of the above is not done, then it becomes an abandoned levy and the seized vehicle or goods are still yours and you are free to take them away for safe keeping.

Closed possession is when a person remains on the premises to hold the seized goods, today this is rarely done.

Once this form is complete, the bailiff has "levied" over your goods.

A High Court Enforcement Officer will use a regulation 15 walking-possession agreement.

If you do not sign the Controlled Goods Agreement and the bailiff leaves the premises without taking the seized goods or vehicle, the levy becomes what is called, an abandoned levy and breaking entry cannot be lawfully made at a later date.

 

 

Bailiffs have a belief that wheel clamping a vehicle is a substitute for closed possession but there is no case authority or regulation supporting this.

If a bailiff or HCEO uses a wheel clamp on your vehicle while executing invalid enforcement, you can legally remove the clamp using bolt cutters and take the vehicle - even if you signed a Regulation 15 Controlled Goods Agreement listing the vehicle on it.

 

A debtor-signed Controlled Goods Agreement does not entitle the bailiff to deprive you the continued normal use of the levied goods or vehicle while it remains in your possession (unless you breach the terms of the repayment agreement), so there is no criminal liability if you remove an illegal wheel clamp using bolt cutters from the levied vehicle.

 

NOTE: If the levy on goods is invalid e.g the document is not compliant with the law, and the bailiff has left the premises, this creates an abandoned levy. Check the list of grounds that constitutes an invalid levy

 

There is also lots of further case authority that defines levy abandonment.