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How to Complain about a Bailiff

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  • How to Complain about a Bailiff

    How to complain about a bailiff

    You can complain about a bailiff (‘enforcement agent’) if you think they’ve broken the rules, for example if they:
    • threaten or harass you
    • try to break into your home without a warrant
    • try to charge you incorrect fees
    • take goods belonging to someone else
    • take essential items, including things you need for work
    You can complain both to:
    • whoever the bailiff is working for
    • the people you owe money to
    Who to complain to

    Who you need to complain to depends on whether the bailiff is a:
    • private bailiff - either a certificated enforcement agent (also known as civil enforcement agents) or a high court enforcement officer
    • county or family court bailiff
    • a bailiff enforcing magistrates’ court fines (either a civilian enforcement officer or Approved Enforcement Agent)
    Complain about a private bailiff

    Most bailiffs work for private companies, even if they’re collecting money for the council or the government. They can also be directly employed by local authorities, or self-employed.

    If the bailiff is collecting money for a council or Transport for London (TfL)

    First complain to the council or TfL. If you’re still not happy, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
    Complain to a trade organisation (if the bailiff is a member)

    You may also be able to complain to the bailiff’s trade association if they’re a member.

    Check the membership lists on the trade associations’ websites:
    • Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) - member list
    • High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) - directory
    • Certificated Enforcement Agents Association (CEAA) - contact for member details
    Follow the complaints procedure on the association’s website:
    • CIVEA
    • HCEOA
    • CEAA
    If the bailiff is a high court enforcement officer

    If you have a serious complaint about a high court enforcement officer, you can ask a high court judge to consider whether they should be allowed to continue operating.

    You can complain by writing to:

    Civil Enforcement Policy
    Civil Law and Justice Division
    Ministry of Justice
    102 Petty France
    SW1H 9AJ

    Complain to a court about a bailiff’s behaviour

    If a bailiff has a certificate allowing them to carry out enforcement action (a certificated enforcement agent) you can ask the court to consider whether they should be allowed to continue operating. You need to:The court can remove the agent’s certificate or order them to pay compensation.

    It’s free to make a complaint, but you may have to pay legal costs if you complain to a court and they decide there were no ‘reasonable grounds’ for the complaint.
    Complain about a court bailiff or civilian enforcement officer

    You can make a complaint in writing or use the complaint form if you’re complaining about either:
    • a county or family court bailiff
    • a civilian enforcement officer
    You’ll need to make the complaint to the court the bailiff has come from. Find out where to send the form by using court finder.
    Complain about a bailiff enforcing magistrates’ court fines

    If your complaint is about a privately-employed bailiff collecting a magistrates’ court fine, you should first complain to the firm that employs them. You should also send a copy of your complaint to the court where the warrant was issued.

    Find out where to send the complaint by using court finder.

    Source: HM Government Website
    Legal Disclaimer

    I am a Litigation Assistant at
    Joanna Connolly Solicitors a firm which specialises in consumer credit. If you need to contact me you can send a message by clicking on my username or by emailing me at or by telephoning 0330 053 9340. Our initial advice is always free.

    Any posts I make on the AAD Consumer Forum are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide on the forum is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance or contact your local citizens advice bureau at