Published on 13 Feb 2013
For those dealing with the bailiff mafia check out this definitive case law that will protect you.
Equity aids the vigilant, not he who sleeps on his rights...
A debtor can remove right of implied access by displaying a notice at the entrance. This was endorsed by Lord Justice Donaldson in the case of Lambert v Roberts  72 Cr App R 223 - and placing such a notice is akin to a closed door but it also prevents a bailiff entering the garden or driveway, Knox v Anderton  Crim LR 115 or R. v Leroy Roberts  EWCA Crim 2753
Debtors can also remove implied right of access to property by telling him to leave: Davis v Lisle  2 KB 434 similarly, McArdle v Wallace  108 Sol Jo 483
A person having been told to leave is now under a duty to withdraw from the property with all due reasonable speed and failure to do so he is not thereafter acting in the execution of his duty and becomes a trespasser with any subsequent levy made being invalid and attracts a liability under a claim for damages, Morris v Beardmore  71 Cr App 256.
Bailiffs cannot force their way into a private dwelling, Grove v Eastern Gas  1 KB 77
Otherwise a door left open is an implied license for a bailiff to enter, Faulkner v Willetts  Crim LR 453 likewise a person standing back to allow the bailiff to walk through but the bailiff must not abuse this license by entering by improper means or by unusual routes, Ancaster v Milling  2 D&R 714 or Rogers v Spence  M&W 571
Ringing a doorbell is not causing a disturbance, Grant v Moser  5 M&G 123 or R. v Bright 4 C&P 387 nor is refusing to leave a property causes a disturbance, Green v Bartram  4 C&P 308 or Jordan v Gibbon  8 LT 391
Permission for a bailiff to enter may be refused provided the words used are not capable of being mistaken for swear words, Bailey v Wilson  Crim LR 618.
If the entry is peaceful but without permission then a request to leave should always be made first. Tullay v Reed  1 C&P 6 or an employee or other person can also request the bailiff to leave, Hall v Davis  2 C&P 33
Excessive force must be avoided, Gregory v Hall  8 TR 299 or Oakes v Wood  2 M&W 791
A debtor can use an equal amount of force to resist a bailiff from gaining entry, Weaver v Bush  8TR, Simpson v Morris  4 Taunt 821, Polkinhorne v Wright  8QB 197. Another occupier of the premises or an employee may also take these steps: Hall v Davis  2 C&P 33.
Also wrongful would be an attempt at forcible entry despite resistance, Ingle v Bell  1 M&W 516
Bailiffs cannot apply force to a door to gain entry, and if he does so he is not in the execution of his duty, Broughton v Wilkerson  44 JP 781
A Bailiff may not encourage a third party to allow the bailiff access to a property (ie workmen inside a house), access by this means renders the entry unlawful, Nash v Lucas  2 QB 590
The debtor's home and all buildings within the boundary of the premises are protected against forced entry, Munroe & Munroe v Woodspring District Council  Weston-Super-Mare County Court
Contrast: A bailiff may climb over a wall or a fence or walk across a garden or yard provided that no damage occurs, Long v Clarke & another  1 QB 119
It is not contempt to assault a bailiff trying to climb over a locked gate after being refused entry, Lewis v Owen  The Times November 6 p.36b (QBD)
If a bailiff enters by force he is there unlawfully and you can treat him as a trespasser. Curlewis v Laurie  or Vaughan v McKenzie  1 QB 557
A debtor cannot be sued if a person enters a property uninvited and injures himself because he had no legal right to enter, Great Central Railway Co v Bates  3 KB 578
If a bailiff jams his boot into a debtors door to stop him closing, any levy that is subsequently made is not valid: Rai & Rai v Birmingham City Council  or Vaughan v McKenzie  1 QB 557 or Broughton v Wilkerson  44 JP 781
If a bailiff refuses to leave the property after being requested to do so or starts trying to force entry then he is causing a disturbance, Howell v Jackson  6 C&P 723 - but it is unreasonable for a police officer to arrest the bailiff unless he makes a threat, Bibby v Constable of Essex  Court of Appeal April 2000.
Vaughan v McKenzie  1 QB 557 if the debtor strikes the bailiff over the head with a full milk bottle after making a forced entry, the debtor is not guilty of assault because the bailiff was there illegally, likewise R. v Tucker at Hove Trial Centre Crown Court, December 2012 if the debtor gives the bailiff a good slap.
If a person strikes a trespasser who has refused to leave is not guilty of an offence: Davis v Lisle  2 KB 434