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How to become a Bailiff

bailiff careers

What does a Bailiff do?

Bailiffs, sometimes called enforcement officers, work for the courts enforcing court orders, or for clients or government departments that are owed sums of money.

In England and Wales, county court bailiffs deliver legal documents such as summonses and deal with county court orders, mainly for debt recovery or possession of property. Certificated or private bailiffs work for various clients, and deal with all other kinds of debt recovery, mainly magistrates’ court orders and tax arrears.

Duties might include:

  • processing details of debts, warrants or court orders
  • writing letters to debtors requesting payment and making visits
  • negotiating payments with debtors on behalf of clients
  • offering money management advice
  • removal of possessions in lieu of payment, or repossession of commercial premises and changing locks on the doors
  • arranging for seized goods to be safely stored and insured before being sold.

What's the working environment like working as a Bailiff?

Most bailiffs work 37 hours a week Monday to Saturday. Evening and early morning work is common. Part-time work is possible. Many bailiffs combine this work with other jobs.

Although office-based, bailiffs spend most of their time travelling and visiting debtors. A clean driving licence is essential.

What does it take to become a Bailiff?

To be a bailiff you should:

  • have confidence when meeting different people
  • be able to learn and understand all the legal requirements for a bailiff
  • be tactful and skilled in negotiating
  • be assertive, persistent and able to resist intimidation if confronted by aggressive debtors
  • have the ability to cope with some very distressed debtors
  • be able to assess when people are speaking the truth
  • be able to assess the value of goods and possessions
  • be capable of calculating and negotiating payments with debtors.

Bailiff Career Opportunities

In England and Wales, bailiffs are employed by firms of bailiffs or directly by county courts. Self-employment is possible.

Promotion in bailiff firms is possible to senior bailiff, assistant manager and manager. County court bailiffs are civil servants, they can be promoted to bailiff manager.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Bailiff that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Her Majesty's Court Service
Clive House
Petty France
Tel: 020 7189 2000

Enforcement Services Association (ESA)
Park House
10 Park Street

Courses to help you become a Bailiff