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Subject:

Re: Bailiffs and court fines

From:

Laurence Bebbington <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Laurence Bebbington <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Apr 2004 15:23:42 +0100

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Agreement is breaking out all over!  I didn't think we were disagreeing Tim and I think you are absolutely right to offer the occasional reminder that the list is not about offering legal advice and people shouldn't (and I think don't) take it as such. I wish that other law-related JISCMAIL lists that I am on would offer such occasional reminders.  But being pointed to a few sources can help sharpen people's views about the questions they should or might ask if they do need to go to a good lawyer for advice or guidance.  To be honest questions come across this list every day that interact or collide with many areas of law and this is rarely explicitly noted or recognised.

Laurence

>>> Tim Trent <[log in to unmask]> 26/04/04 15:16:33 >>>
I don't disagree with you at all Laurence.  The reason for the health
warning is that we often forget that we are alleged experts in a very small
part of the law, and are 99% of us unqualified to offer legal advice in any
form.  All we can do is to offer up common sense to other people.  However,
where laws collide, this is no place for even the most gifted non qualified
person.  The problem we each have is that we state our lay opinions with the
certainty of the expert - a dangerous set of opinions to read and take
without advice.

Tomorrow, for example, I am giving a training workshop in conjunction with
the BSI under their auspices.  A point I will make firmly and clearly during
it is that the Legal Department should always at least be *informed* of
decisions taken, and that their advice should be sought well in advance of
difficult decisions.

-----Original Message-----
From: Laurence Bebbington [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 3:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Bailiffs and court fines

I agree with the warning but it seems to me that it could be made about many
of the postings that pass through this list every week.

The tension between the information that bailiffs need to execute their
instructions and data protection issues is not new.  For example, as long
ago as 2001 the Court Service indicated "that creditors can provide such
information as they have fairly and lawfully collected for the purpose of
enforcement" to bailiffs (reported in  New Law Journal, 7th September, 2001,
p. 1279).

In a Green paper issued in 2001 the [then] Lord Chancellor's Department
opined that "information is the key issue to improve enforcement. . this
information, relating primarily to personal details, is absolutely essential
to an improved enforcement system, but that there should be strict
safeguards to ensure that the information was not misused or used for other
unrelated purposes."  This Green paper (I believe) has not been taken
further but it is at

http://www.dca.gov.uk/enforcement/enfrev01/rep01.htm 

There is a case on similar issues dealing with private bailiffs - Farrer v.
Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions [2002]
EWHC 1917 Admin summarised on the web site of the Association of Civil
Enforcement Agencies at: http://www.acea.org.uk/whatsnew/feb03a.htm 

Bailiffs also have their own organisation the Certificated Bailiffs
Association at http://www.bailiffs.org.uk/ 

Offered merely as "any comments" as originally requested.  Again I agree
with the health warning that legal advice/guidance for specifc problems
should always be taken from a good legal practice.

Laurence

Laurence W. Bebbington
Law Librarian
Information Services
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham
NG7 2RD


>>> Tim Trent <[log in to unmask]> 26/04/04 14:03:16 >>>
Very specific questions like this, especially where there is a legal
liability are best addressed to a qualified legal person retained by your
organisation to give full legal advice.  I would not take action based on a
consensus from here however well worded.

-----Original Message-----
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Samantha Hill
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 2:00 PM
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: [data-protection] Bailiffs and court fines

Dear All

I would appreciate any comments on a question I have.  We have recently been
approached by bailiffs requesting the address of a student.  My initial
reactions were not to give the bailiffs the student's address but to pass on
any letter to the student, as I did not know what they wanted the
information for.  On speaking to the bailiffs though, we found that they
were trying to collect on a court imposed fine.

My question is whether we would be exempted from the Data Protection Act and
therefore able to give the bailiffs the address either under section
29(1)(c) "..collection of any tax or duty or any imposition of a similar
nature" (is a fine an
"imposition"?) or under s35 concerning legal proceedings?

Thanks for your help

Samantha Hill
Information Disclosure Officer
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth PO1 2UP
Tel:    023 9284 3642
E-mail: [log in to unmask] 

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