Bailiffs, enforcement officers and enforcement agents

Bailiffs, enforcement officers and enforcement agents are authorised to take control of, remove and sell a person's possessions in order to pay money owed to a person or organisation. In some cases they may also have authority to conduct evictions and arrest people.

Bailiffs and enforcement officers have differing roles, depending on the person or organisation on whose behalf they are working.

Leaflet EX345 About Bailiffs and Enforcement Officers has detailed information on their responsibilities, how they work, and how to make a complaint about them. provides information on how to enforce a judgment.

If a certificated enforcement agent attends your home, you can ask to see their certificate, and ask for their name, company name, a telephone contact number and a list of fees. If you do not pay the money you owe, an enforcement agent may take control of your goods and remove your goods to sell. You will be charged for these actions and these fees will be added to the original amount owed.

Directory of High Court Enforcement Officers

The Directory of High Court Enforcement Officers contains names of enforcement officers in England and Wales who have been authorised to execute High Court writs under the provisions contained in Section 99 and Schedule 7 of the Courts Act 2003.

Visit the High Court Enforcement Officers Association website for more information about High Court Enforcement, including the complaints procedure.

The Directory of High Court Enforcement Officers (PDF 0.33Mb)

Certificated Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) Register

The Certificated Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) Register holds the details of all enforcement agents who hold a certificate which allows them to recover a debt by taking control of goods. It also contains details of all individuals who have applied to hold or renew such a certificate.

Only “fit and proper” individuals should hold these certificates. If you know of serious conduct issues which would mean that an existing certificated enforcement agent is not a “fit and proper” person to hold such a certificate, you can use this register to find out which court you should write to with your complaint. If you are concerned about a person applying for a certificate, or to renew an existing certificate, you must write to the county court who will be hearing their application. You must do this no later than eight days before the hearing date.

To look for the details of an enforcement agent's certificate, contact the county court Business Centre (CCBC) on 0300 123 1056 between 10am and 4pm. The CCBC will search the Register for you and advise you of the county court that issued the bailiff's latest certificate. They are unable to advise you on any other matters.

Taking Control of Goods: National Standards

These revised standards are intended for use by all enforcement agents, public and private, the enforcement agencies that employ them and the major creditors who use their services. In order to improve the public's perception of the profession, enforcement agents and those who employ them, or use their services, must maintain high standards of business ethics and practice.

This national guidance does not replace local agreements, existing agency codes of practice or legislation; rather it sets out what the Ministry of Justice regards as minimum standards.

We recognise this document is not legally binding, but offer it as a helpful tool for the industry and for creditors which, it is hoped, will inform their own arrangements.

Taking Control of Goods: National Standards (PDF 0.12mb)

HM Courts & Tribunals Service


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