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.
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.
- The Ministry of Justice has said an extra £1 million ill be made available to provide more restorative justice schemes throughout the UK.
- The money will be used to develop pre-sentence Restorative Justice and expand the scheme across the country.
- The additional money will result in around up to 20,000 more restorative justice cases a year.
Details of how restorative justice encounters will operate will be set out in a new clause of the crime and courts bill being debated in the House of Lords, reports the Guardian.
At present, the practice is used in relatively few areas. Its formal inclusion in the bill is being presented as a victory for Liberal Democrats.
Restorative justice is the process of bringing together those harmed by crime or conflict with those responsible for the harm, to find a positive way forward.
In criminal justice, restorative processes give victims the chance to:
- Tell offenders the real impact of their crime.
- Get answers to their questions.
- Get an apology.
Restorative justice holds offenders to account for what they have done. It helps them understand the real impact, take responsibility, and make amends.