Lootman wrote:The other weird thing about English law in regard of debts is the fact that bailiffs exist at all. There is no such entity in the US and, if there was, they would routinely be shot by armed homeowners.
If the US can manage without bailiffs (where they would routinely be shot) then why can't the UK?
That's not the case. Although the law varies from state to state most states do have the equivalent of bailiffs, who are authorised by the court to seize debtor's goods.
As a random example here's some information on the law in Michigan, which appears to be very similar to the law here - http://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help- ... y-pay-debt
I'm not aware of a high number of Michigan bailiffs having been shot.
Anyway, bailiffs are a barbaric relic and should be outlawed. If you think I owe you, take me to court and make your case, having first made 100% sure I know about it and can defend myself.
You seem to be under a misapprehension. With the small exception of rent due for commercial premises bailiffs cannot be used to seize goods until
a court judgment has been obtained. So the debtor has had every chance to defend himself.
With a court judgement you can place a charge or lien on my house or other asset, you can attach or garnish my sources of income, and you can apply to the court for other powers of collection, including interrogation of my assets and income under oath.
The reason bailiffs are employed is often because the debtor has no (or no identifiable) source of income and owns no property that could be charged. And the `interrogation of assets under oath' (which I assume to be a US term - the UK version is an `order that the debtor attend court for questioning') is a joke. Firstly, most debtors don't bother to turn up, and even if they do they `forget' to bring any evidence to support the tissue of lies they generally come out with.
You seem to be under the impression that debtors are poor, naive, downtrodden victims of merciless creditors. In 30 years of experience many debtors are professional debtors, who spend their lives incurring debts they have not the slightest intention of paying. They know more about debt collection law than most lawyers and also know which tactics to avoid payment work and which don't. They meticulously arrange their affairs with the prime intention of defeating creditors.
These people are scum, and I see it as excellent sport hunting them down and hacking through their various defences to get paid. Bailiffs can be very useful in these situations, as many such debtors make a point of dealing in cash, so as to avoid seizure of bank accounts. But a good bailiff can work out when the cash is likely to be handed over and pounce.
If I had wind of bailiffs coming to my house, and they have to give notice, then they would not find much of value - it would all be in a storage unit or with a friend.
This is why they don't have to give notice. They can just turn up unannounced, and the element of surprise is often the key to success.
In any event, the use of bailiffs is not common, considering how much debt there is out there. That tells me that it is not an efficient or cost-effective means of collection.
On the contrary, I seem to recall from a recent webinar I watched that the success rate is in excess of 70%. It's also a very cost-effective means of recovery as only a nominal fee is payable if the bailiffs aren't successful.
You should never discover a bailiff in your house. If you left a door or window open they can gain entry (as can a burglar)
They are no longer allowed to gain access through a window.
To me, the battle between creditors and debtors should be a battle of wits and guile, and not any form of physical altercation or action.
It should be entirely possible to resolve, negotiate, settle or collect debts without sending hefty goons round to your house.
In that context, the idea that one side can send some intimidating goons round to your house, and may even enter that house in some circumstances, strikes me as an unfair advantage to one side.
Unfortunately, we have to deal with the real world. You appear to see a moral equivalence between creditors and debtors, but it's the debtor who is in the wrong, so the law should
give the creditor an advantage.
I had a big fight with a builder years ago where I made only a part payment because the work was shoddy. He took me to court for the balance and won by default (I was out of the country and knew nothing about it). You can bet I did everything to avoid paying that "court proven debt". And I succeeded, albeit due to some luck - I moved house about the same time and the builder never found me.
You clearly didn't do everything to avoid paying the debt. What you should have done is apply to set the judgment aside, an application that would almost certainly have been granted. You could then have properly defended the claim.
As it is, the debt is still enforceable, and if it’s ever sold to a debt collection agency they will be easily able to find you. And the chances of getting the original judgment set aside when you've been aware of it now for years are minimal.
The one time I looked into doing this, I learned that the lien is valid for 10 years, and can be renewed at that point. Moreover 10% interest a year accrues the whole time - a rather better rate of return than you would get on most assets.
Once again I suspect you're quoting the law of some US state. For a start, there is no such thing as a `lien' on property in England - it's known as a charging order. And it's valid indefinitely, not for 10 years.
My understanding is that the title cannot be transferred without satisfaction of any charges against that property. The title is not "clean" until such liabilities are discharged, and therefore the Land Registry will not transfer title.
If a charging order is obtained over a property the creditor can then apply to the court for an order that the house be sold.
If the order is granted the creditor is in the same position as a mortgagee that has obtained a possession order - he has to pay mortgagees whose mortgages have priority to his, but can then keep what's left to satisfy his debt.