For the last thirty years I have specialised in the enforcement law of England and Wales. I have become familiar with all aspects of the subject:
- advice to indebted individuals visited by bailiffs;
- consultancy advice to enforcement agents, agencies, professional associations and trade bodies;
- training advice agency staff and enforcement agents on the law;
- research and writing books, newsletters and guidance;
- media work and interviews;
- assisting government through serving on a variety of consultative committees and working groups.
A colleague once declared me “the Obi Wan Kenobi” of enforcement law- I’m still not sure what it means, but I’ve taken as a compliment!
My writing in the field of enforcement law breaks down into two areas- practical texts on the contemporary law and historical studies of the nature and development of the older laws of distress.
My books on the reformed law have included:
- Taking Control of Goods, PP Publishing, 2014. This is a complete study of the new law as reformed by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007;
- Sources of bailiff law, PP Publishing, 2012. This examines the established case law on bailiff’s powers of distress and distraint. Many of these principles are still applicable under the new law too;
- Body Worn Video in the Civil Enforcement Sector– Amazon/ Kindle, October 2019: as body-worn video begins to become mandatory for agents working in the civil enforcement sector, this book offers a complete guide, for agencies and agents, to use of the technology. It covers all aspects of operations, for procurement through use in the field to subject access requests and complaints. It includes discussion of the relevant statutes, best practice advice, the latest case law and ombudsman decisions and a section on ANPR;
- Vulnerable Cases in Civil Enforcement– under the reformed enforcement procedures of 2014, enforcement agents have been required to pay attention to debtors’ vulnerability. A finding that an individual is vulnerable may prevent the bailiff even setting foot on the debtor’s premises. Dealing correctly and sympathetically with these cases is therefore of paramount importance for enforcement agents and for creditors.This book offers a comprehensive statement of the law on vulnerable debtors as it currently stands. It looks at the various statutes and other regulatory provisions affecting creditors and enforcement agents (which include the Human Rights Act, Mental Capacity Act and Equality Act). It moves on to examine the practical tools that bailiffs and other recoveries staff may deploy when dealing with potentially vulnerable individuals and it concludes with an analysis of the case law on recognising and responding to vulnerability that has been developed by the Local Government Ombudsman;
- Bailiff Best Practice- A Guide to the National Standard for Enforcement Agents, Amazon/Kindle, 2019- a detailed analysis of the government’s best practice guidelines, with full case law references and recommendations for practice;
- Powers of distress– although enforcement law in England and Wales was reformed and modernised with effect from 2014, several forms of seizure of goods were left unaffected by the changes. These are reviewed and described in practical detail in this book. A 2016 supplement is also available through Amazon/ Kindle; and,
- Notes on the theory and practice of enforcement law- the second edition is available as an e-book guide or paperback for practitioners from Amazon/ Kindle
Enforcement law history
Until English bailiff law was reformed in 2014, the legal history of the subject was very often the same thing as the contemporary law. Even given the changes wrought by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, elements of the old law remain in force (see Powers of distress above) so that the historical texts still have some relevance.
My two main books on the history of English enforcement law were published by Wildy, Simmons and Hill:
- A lawful trespass- this discusses the medieval evolution of bailiffs’ powers; and,
- Persons of no value? which examines the development of the still recognisable outlines of the law after about 1600.
I have also independently published a number of other legal histories, comprehensively examining aspects of bailiff law and practice from the early nineteenth century into the late 1980s. These titles cover the full sweep of English legal history:
All these books are histories of a law that is now reformed and that is largely (but not entirely) disused. Nevertheless, many of the themes and complaints described are constant throughout, however the contexts may alter, and they still make informative reading for modern practitioners.
In total I have written some two dozen books on both current enforcement law and its historical development in England and Wales and many more articles in professional and academic journals (see my bailiffscholar blog for a list). Full details of my books can be found through Amazon and my Amazon author page (many of the titles have been self-published through Kindle and Amazon).
Full details of my other publications on aspects of English law will be found on the Wildy and Sons website. I have also been interested in insolvency law, civil court procedures and the law of common land and have published on these fields, amongst other areas.
I have been a trainer since 1987 and I provide regular training for the Institute of Money Advisers and Money Advice Trust. I have also trained a huge range of other organisations including Chartered Institute of Housing; IRRV; Council of Mortgage Lenders; individual banks, building societies and finance houses; local authority housing and revenues staff; housing associations; enforcement agents; law centres and voluntary sector advice agencies; welfare staff working in the civil service, the armed forces, the police and in the private sector.
My training over the years has covered all aspects of debt advice and relevant areas of law such as insolvency, court procedures, mortgages and consumer credit. Of course my primary focus has been on enforcement law and I offer a range of tailored courses at introductory and specialist levels.
I’m familiar with class room learning, webinars and e-learning. I wrote and marked a distance learning debt advice module for the professional qualification of the former Institute of Trading Standards Administration. I have regularly given conference and seminar presentations.
My courses have been widely commended, with my training praised for its “participative” nature and “engaging” style. For more details of the programmes available please contact me by email.
I have a specialist enforcement law blog at bailiffscholar.wordpress.com on which I post occasional longer articles and discussions.
I’ve provided consultancy services and professional advice to a range of organisations, including local authorities, enforcement agencies, major law firms and advice providers. The areas covered have included:
- writing advice leaflets and guidance notes for clients and staff;
- working on tenders for commercial contracts;
- developing good practice guidance;
- giving advice on problem cases;
- assisting with the development of standard letters and notices;
- acting as an expert witness; and,
- speaking at seminars and conferences.
Bailiff Studies Centre
I established BSC in 2010. The purpose of the Centre was to promote the highest standards of enforcement law and practice through newsletters and reports.
Reform and review
I have been actively involved in the process of bailiff law reform since the late 1990s, having served on several working parties and committees at Ministry of Justice and its predecessors. Over and above my activities with Bailiff Studies Centre, I was also involved in an independent group of interested experts in formulating responses and comments upon the need for continuing reform to the current law.
In addition to the information which is published on my bailiffscholar blog, I will publish important case law on this website as well. Please click for further details of these significant judgments and decisions.
If you’re interested too in consultancy work, report writing or any other project where I might be able to contribute my skills and specialist knowledge, please get in touch. You can also find me through LinkedIn, where I have posted regularly on enforcement related topics.