English Bailiffs Threaten BBC With Legal Action
Although this blog normally deals only with issues of debt, I thought in this case I would make an exception as it relates to the conduct of Shergroup, an English High Court Enforcement Officer’s conduct.
Recently at the Democracy Village camped outside the House’s of Parliament, High Court Enforcement Officers were brought into evict the protestors, after Tory Mayor, Boris Johnstone obtained a court order to evict them. In one piece of video footage by the BBC, a bailiff appears to be kicking a protestor.
However Shergroup, the private bailiff firm employed to carry out the eviction, have now hit back and threatened to take legal action against the BBC. They have posted their own footage on YouTube, showing what they say was their employee only trying to free his feet from the protestor.
Although, I need to ask if stamping on the protestor was really necessary to free the bailiffs foot. Possibly it doesn’t show them in the good light they hoped.
It raises an important point, however, and that is court officers, north and south of the border are representatives of the court and its authority, so when their conduct is unacceptable, they bring not only themselves, but the court into disrepute. In Scotland a complaint can be made to the Sheriff Principal when it concerns a sheriff officer or the Lord President of the Court of Session when it concerns messenger at arms.
BBC footage can be seen here.
Shergroup footage can be seen here.
NOTE: Bailiffs do not operate in Scotland to enforce court orders, instead we have Sheriff Officers and Messenger at Arms. What is often not realised, however, is that although most people associate bailiffs and sheriff officers with enforcement of debt, they can be required to enforce any court order, such as evicting people. One of the more stranger aspects of the court regulations which relate to sheriff officer in Scotland is that there is actually a price for them to arrange and take possession of a child: a bargain at only £124.30.