The Citizens Advice Bureau offers some tips for dealing with bailiffs.
After a week when good news on the economy was buried under the Chief Whip row, few in the Tory Party doubt it's time for a fresh start.
David Cameron will call for a new "tough but intelligent" approach to law and order today.
Government figures have revealed that hundreds of inmates abscond from prisons every year.
In the last three years, nearly 700 prisoners fled open prisons, or disappeared while on day release, with nearly 40 murderers among them.
The latest 2011/2012 figures from the Ministry of Justice show a drop in the number of absconders, at 175, compared to 235 in 2010/2011.
Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies told the Daily Mail: "What is frightening is that we don't know how many of these committed offences while they were absconding. We don't even know whether they are still at large."
People who find themselves in debt, will be protected from aggressive bailiffs under new laws to be introduced in England and Wales
Under the changes - which will be introduced next year - late-night visits will not be allowed, and restrictions will be put in place over what property can be seized.
– Shadow Justice Minister Rob Flello
These are much-needed reforms and it's a pity the Tory-led Government has taken two-and-a-half years to move forward the hard work begun under the last Labour government.
We need to see the Government bring forward legislation quickly and, provided it addresses our concerns, we will work constructively to help make it happen.
At a time of great hardship for so many families, the last thing they need to fear is the knock at the door from an unscrupulous bailiff, whose actions do so much to damage the reputation of those striving to keep up the standards of the rest of the profession."
New laws aimed at clamping down on aggressive bailiffs will be introduced next year, the government has said.
Speaking to ITV Daybreak, Peter Tutton of the debt charity 'Step Change', said that it is important the Government focuses on bailiffs, but worries the reform will not get to the heart of the matter.
Bailiffs will be banned from using fear or force to collect debt under legislation to clean up the industry and protect the vulnerable.
Under new laws to be introduced next year, aggressive bailiffs could face being barred from the industry.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said:
Too many people in debt have had the additional stress of dealing with aggressive bailiffs who often charge extortionate fees.
These new laws will clean up the industry and ensure bailiffs play by the rules or face being prevented from practising. They will also make sure businesses and public bodies can collect their debts fairly.
The Government plans to introduce new laws for bailiffs in an attempt to regulate the industry, and protect debtors.
The new laws will include:
- No late-night visits
- Restrictions on what property can be seized
- No visits when only children are at home
- Bailiffs will no longer be able to set their own fees
- They will be prevented from using force against people who owe money
- Mandatory training and a certification scheme will be put in place
New laws introduced today will regulate bailiffs to "clean up" the industry and protect vulnerable debtors.
Under the changes, late-night visits will not be allowed, and restrictions will be put in place over what property can be seized.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said: "For too long bailiffs have gone unregulated."
- The Ministry of Justice commissioned an evaluation of three pilot restorative justice schemes, which used a mix of conferencing, mediation and indirect mediation methods.
- This research suggests that restorative justice has the potential to be associated with high levels of victim satisfaction.
- This is particularly so for the conferencing method of restorative justice, which was associated with 85% overall victim satisfaction.
- Surveys on restorative justice have found that victims report an 85% satisfaction rate. A drop of around 14% in reoffending rates was recorded among perpetrators.
The Ministry of Justice set out a strategy to build access, capacity and awareness of restorative justice across the Criminal Justice System, in a Restorative Justice Action Plan.
A recent Joint Justice Inspectorates report found that restorative justice in the UK is limited by 'patchy' availability across the country, gaps in access across the stages of the justice system and inconsistent quality of restorative justice being delivered.
Currently Restorative Justice mainly takes place after sentencing.
The aim is for more pre-sentence Restorative Justice based on cases where offenders have already pleaded guilty and expressed remorse.