Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Lords raise bailiff regulations

Andy Miller
Mr Miller had suffered a stroke following his heart attack in October

The government is being urged to take action on bailiffs following the death of a Lancashire man who was taken to a cash machine to pay a speeding fine.

Andy Miller, 78, from Accrington, was driven by a bailiff to a bank to withdraw the 60, but collapsed as the bailiff waited for the money.

Justice Minister Jack Straw has already ordered an inquiry into the death.

Tory Lord Lucas called for regulations to accompany the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 on Wednesday.

He told peers: "They were promised for the summer, they were promised for October, they were promised before Christmas and still we don't have them.

Enforcement law

"Now life is getting very rough out there because people are getting very short of money, bailiffs are finding it harder to extract it and we are getting a lot of cases now where there is a serious level of distress being caused."

Junior justice minister Lord Bach said the government wanted to produce regulations as fast as it could.

But he added: "Enforcement law is complex, confusing and frankly difficult to understand.

"Bailiff law, I'm told, goes back to 1267. It is found in common law and in a number of statutes many of which are centuries old. We need to get this right."

Regulation needed to be "appropriate and proportionate", he said.

Mr Miller had only been released from hospital two weeks earlier, following a heart attack in October.

His family said they had told the Lancashire magistrates who ordered the bailiffs about his health problems.

Magistrates in Blackpool gave permission for the bailiffs to collect the debt, which included costs which arose from the speeding offence committed on the M55 motorway.

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Man dies during visit by bailiff
16 Jan 09 |  Lancashire

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