Hausarbeit, 2010, 14 Seiten
People and especially the media often confuse the occupation of a bailiff with the job of a debt collector. But the work of these two is very separate because bailiffs usually enforce court orders and warrants issued by the government departments and are allowed to take people’s goods to sell it to pay what is owed (csa). In contrast to a bailiff a debt collector has no right to do that and is only a representative of a Debt Collection Agency (payplan). However, there are different types of bailiffs that must be distinguished and will be dealt with in one of the following paragraphs of this paper.
If you are a creditor and have problems with a debtor or if you are a debtor and afraid of an arriving bailiff, you will find a lot of websites on the internet offering help and giving advice. This shows that there is an increasing awareness of bailiffs and since courtroom shows have experienced a remarkable revival in the mid-1990s and became a regular feature of daytime television, bailiffs are present on the TV screen, too (Versteegen 71). While examining the presentation of this occupation, I will demonstrate that bailiffs are shown in a contrary way in the media. To prove my thesis, I will firstly give a definition and an overview of the job and function of a bailiff, present the different types of bailiffs and will also deal with the walking possession agreement. In the second part of my paper I will have a look at two different presentations of Bailiffs in the media: First I will examine a debtor’s proceed against a bailiff, which caught the attention of the media. In contrast to that I will have a look at the character of Petri Hawkins-Byrd, the popular bailiff of the American courtroom show ‘Judge Judy’ and his depiction on the TV show. In the last part of my paper I will evaluate my findings and prove my thesis that the presentation of this occupation in the media differs. Finally I will assume the function of these distinct ways of presenting this occupation and will also refer to the two different genres of media in which the bailiffs are shown, namely on the one hand a real court case in newspapers and on the radio and on the other hand a TV courtroom series.
In the United Kingdom there are 5000 bailiff cases per year and in 80% of those cases the local and central government debts are in fact collected by the bailiffs (Meakin, lmag). Bailiffs have been around for over a thousand years and ‘distress’, which is the process of removing or threatening to remove goods in order to enforce a debt, was already common in the 13 th century. Even the Magna Carta of 1215 gave the English Barons the right to distress against the king (bailiffadvice).
In general bailiffs are authorized to collect a debt on behalf of a creditor and additionally are concerned with court procedures and proper conduct of court business. The court orders and warrants enforced by bailiffs, are most of the time issued by government departments and have commonly to do with the recovery of debt. But in certain cases bailiffs also have the power to evict or arrest debtors (csa). The procedures in which a bailiff is involved are always covered by law and therefore the occupation demands detailed knowledge and understanding of the legalities of a bailiff (cvtips).
When collecting debts a bailiff can be instructed to seize goods for payment from the debtor’s home, if he or she failed to pay the creditors. Furthermore he can also be used to repossess your home or to enforce certain arrest warrants if for instance a County Court Judgement is involved (payplan).
From October 1998 debtors who missed to pay council tax or community charge will get a letter from the council first, before a bailiff is sent to them. This letter tells the debtor how much he owes and warns him that a bailiff will call, if he does not pay the amount within 14 days. In this case the debtor should try to make an arrangement with the council to prevent a visit of the bailiff and additional fees (multikulti).
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