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Bailiff enforcement agent, enforcement officer, High Court enforcement officer

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Bailiffs visit properties to collect debts, serve a court document or give a notice or summons.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could start as a trainee bailiff. Your employer will then give you the training you need to get a Bailiff General Certificate. You’ll need the certificate before you can carry out any bailiff duties by yourself.

To get the certificate you’ll need to:

  • prove to a county court judge that you’re a ‘fit and proper person’, with no criminal or debt record, and knowledge of bailiff law
  • put a £10,000 bond in place with the court - you can take out an insurance policy to cover this
  • provide 2 references
  • pass enhanced background checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

You may also find it useful to have:

  • work experience in sales, the military, the prison service (HMP), housing, or the police
  • experience in dealing with the public and handling difficult situations

To work as a court appointed bailiff or high court enforcement officer, you may also need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.

You can find information about training for enforcement officers from the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

Information about training as a high court enforcement officer is available from the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA).


2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • an assertive and confident manner
  • tact, diplomacy and negotiation skills
  • conflict managment skills
  • the ability to keep calm under pressure
  • maths skills for calculating repayments
  • IT skills for record-keeping

3. What you'll do

Bailiffs work in 2 main roles:

  • court-appointed officers - county court bailiffs and civilian or high court enforcement officers
  • certificated bailiffs - working for private firms known as civil enforcement agencies, collecting debts for their clients

Your work will depend on the type of bailiff you are. In both roles, your tasks could include:

  • visiting and writing to debtors to ask for payment
  • offering money management advice
  • arranging for people to repay debts in instalments
  • attending court to apply for a warrant to enter property
  • serving court papers
  • taking away goods
  • arranging for goods to be sold at auction
  • being responsible for any money and goods recovered
  • keeping accurate records

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: £25,000

Highly Experienced: up to £40,000

You may earn more if self-employed.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. You'll have to work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends. You may often work on your own.

You’ll need to have a reasonable level of personal fitness as you’ll often be lifting and carrying goods.

You'll usually have an office but will spend most of your time travelling to visit people who owe money.


6. Career path and progression

With experience you could move into a supervisory role, leading a team of bailiffs.

You could also move into senior management or business development.

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Last updated: 18 April 2018