What is the Difference Between Bailiffs and Sheriffs?

When you are dealing with debt, one of the last things that you want to be doing is digging through web page after web page on Google trying to discern the job role of the different types of people that you are in contact with. One of the main enquiries that we get relating to job definitions is the difference between Bailiffs and Sheriffs.

Honestly? Well, it depends on where you live.

Maybe when you picture a Sheriff from Scott & Co, you’re getting an image of some gunslinger with a deep south drawl out in the wild west, spitting tobacco and riding a horse. Yeah. We don’t have those in England.

Sheriffs in England and Wales mean business. If you’re dealing with a Sheriff, the likeliness is that you either owe a lot of money, or you’ve neglected your promise to meet a payment scheme. Either way, dealing with a Sheriff can be a little more complicated than dealing with a Bailiff. It also means that you’ll likely have fewer rights.

If you’re dealing with a Sheriff, there is a likeliness that they will come into your house. They will often have warrants that grant them access, and should you refuse them access, they are at liberty to use ‘reasonable force’ to gain entry. They will then levy items that they will sell to cancel out your debt. To avoid this, you should seek advice from Council Tax Advisors, who can help liaise with the courts to try and arrange a settlement or payment scheme that is more realistic.

Bailiffs have more limited rights, but will often try to make out that they are allowed access to your home. We advise that you hold discussions with any stranger that might be a Bailiff or Sheriff from a window or letterbox, and you should always ask for ID or a warrant if they are demanding access. Contacting Council Tax Advisors should be your next port of call.

Sheriffs deal directly with orders handed out directly from the High Courts. Bailiffs tend to be employed by the County court or by a private firm, most of which have to become certified. This means that Bailiffs have less rights, and aren’t permitted to enter your home. Preventing a Sheriff from entering your home is a lot harder.

A quick note for anyone who lives in Scotland – if you’ve been contacted by a Sheriff, you needn’t worry as much. In Scotland, a Sheriff is a Bailiff. If you get approached by a messenger at arms however, you will need to be more concerned.

Bailiffs are relatively easy to handle, and Council Tax Advisors are here to help. If you think you may be dealing with Sheriffs or have been contacted by Sheriffs, you should contact Council Tax Advisors immediately.

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