There were historically at least four types of enforcement agent: County Court Bailiffs, Certificated Bailiffs, Approved Enforcement Agencies, and High Court Enforcement Officers. Of these, only certificated bailiffs (as the name suggests) required certification by the Court in order to work.
The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 ('TCEA07') created a system of taking control of goods in order to enforce judgments and abolished ancient common law writs and remedies. It introduced a modern system of 'certified enforcement agents' and 'exempted enforcement agents' which includes civil servants such as court officers and County Court bailiffs, civilian enforcement officers and police officers.
In 2014 following a review of the enforcement agent reforms introduced by the TCEA07, significant reforms were introduced. It is now the case that anyone exercising powers under Schedule 12, TCEA07 must be certificated (or exempt, or working in the presence and under the direction of a certificated or exempt officer) pursuant to s.64 TCEA07 and added to this it is a criminal offence to purport (knowingly or recklessly) to act as an enforcement agent without being authorised (either by certification or otherwise).
Enforcement by Taking Control of Goods is a practitioner's guide to the law of taking control of goods as a means of enforcement post 2014.
For both lawyers and enforcement professionals this new title analyses the present legislation and case law covering enforcement by taking control of goods, formerly known as distress or impounding, when a judgment debt goes unpaid. It also deals with the process of obtaining and executing writs and warrants of control from beginning to end, and covers the certification regime for enforcement agents, all by reference to the latest case law.