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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In a recent answer, you eferred to the powers of a bailiff

Customer Question

In a recent answer, you eferred to the powers of a bailiff to seize a car.
My car is a private hire licenced vehicle. It is the sole source of my income.
In the case of a bailiff, is my car considered privileged. ie. it can not be seized by the bailiff?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
HI.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Has your car been seized?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


JOMO1972


 


The car has not be seized but I have received a written threat from a firm of bailiffs that are involved in a disputed council tax liability order.


 


James

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

Does this car have any private purpose at all?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

JOMO1972

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Can you respond ok?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


JOMO1972


 


No private use

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

It is a little more complicated than is generally portrayed on the internet but tools of the trade are protected from some bailiffs.

Tools of the trade involve things that have no other purpose at all which is why cars are often still exposed to seizure - often they do have a work purpose but they are not tools of the trader. Black taxis would be a good example.

Basically the case law has developed to stop bailiffs from seizing tools of the trader so that people cannot earn and pay off the debt.

Council tax bailiffs do have the greatest powers as bailiffs go second only to the Revenue bailiffs but they still should not seize a tool of the trade.

Do bear in mind though that council tax arrears should be your priority debt. You can go to prison for council tax arrears which is not likely but possible and its not possible for most other debts.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

JOMO1972


Thank you.


 


It seems to be a matter of establishing that my car is "a tool of my trade"


 


That is it is licenced by the local licencing authority, I am the licenced driver and as such I am the only person allowed to drive it and the insurance premium is for a public service vehicle. Further the car shows the plate number.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, its always an arguable point in your situation.

Black cabs are clearly covered.

Overall, given that its the car thats licensed by the local authority I think you probably would win on that point.

However, you must be realistic. Just because something shouldn't be claimed doesn't mean it won't. Bailiffs seize things all the time that they shouldn't. Make sure you either keep it in a locked garage or parked many streets away.

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