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The Sheriff or Bailiff

The Irish Constitution States: Inviolability of a citizen’s dwelling

Thanks to a Hubber for this info:
Law Excerpts Relevant to Bailiffs and Evictions
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 [1981] 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 [1983] Crim LR 115 or R. v Leroy Roberts [2003] EWCA Crim 2753

Debtors can also remove implied right of access to property by telling him to leave: Davis v Lisle [1936] 2 KB 434 similarly, McArdle v Wallace [1964] 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 in his 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 [1980] 71 Cr App 256.

Bailiffs cannot force their way into a private dwelling, Grove v Eastern Gas [1952] 1 KB 77

Otherwise a door left open is an implied license for a bailiff to enter, Faulkner v Willetts [1982] 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 [1823] 2 D&R 714 or Rogers v Spence [1846] M&W 571

Ringing a doorbell is not causing a disturbance, Grant v Moser [1843] 5 M&G 123 or R. v Bright 4 C&P 387 nor is refusing to leave a property unless it causes a disturbance, Green v Bartram [1830] 4 C&P 308 or Jordan v Gibbon [1863] 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 [1968] Crim LR 618.

If the entry is peaceful but without permission then a request to leave should always be made first. Tullay v Reed [1823] 1 C&P 6 or an employee or other person can also request the bailiff to leave, Hall v Davis [1825] 2 C&P 33

Excessive force must be avoided, Gregory v Hall [1799] 8 TR 299 or Oakes v Wood [1837] 2 M&W 791

A debtor can use an equal amount of force to resist a bailiff from gaining entry, Weaver v Bush [1795] 8TR, Simpson v Morris [1813] 4 Taunt 821, Polkinhorne v Wright [1845] 8QB 197. Another occupier of the premises or an employee may also take these steps: Hall v Davis [1825] 2 C&P 33.
Also wrongful would be an attempt at forcible entry despite resistance, Ingle v Bell [1836] 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 [1880] 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 [1867] 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 [1979] 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 [1894] 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 [1893] 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 [1848] or Vaughan v McKenzie [1969] 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 [1921] 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 [1993] or Vaughan v McKenzie [1969] 1 QB 557 or Broughton v Wilkerson [1880] 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 [1834] 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 [2000] Court of Appeal April 2000.

Vaughan v McKenzie [1969] 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 a person strikes a trespasser who has refused to leave, he is not guilty of an offence: Davis v Lisle [1936] 2 KB 4:

The Constitution declares that the dwelling of a citizen is inviolable and shall not be entered forcibly except in accordance with the law. This means that no one, including the Gardaí, may enter the place where you live without a warrant or other legal authority to enter. No Sheriff or Bailiff has a legal right to enter your property.

Commercial bailiffs, who will be sending you lots of letters, whilst rarely visiting your property; have far fewer powers than court bailiffs and can be sorted out with a few documents and a simply procedure.

First, print out this Notice of Removal of Implied Right of Access and laminate it [which can be found at the very bottom of this page], then place this notice at the entrance of your property. Should the bailiff ignore it he will be trespassing on your property.

If you are expecting bailiffs to visit and you don’t know who is at the door, then don’t open it when somebody knocks. Ask, through a window or the mailbox (or just shout through the door) and ask who it is. If they reply that are from the Council or some other authority or body, ask exactly who they are and what their business is with you. If they are a bailiff or other undesired person, say, “Just a moment, please” and go out of the back door locking it behind you and go to meet them by the front door, taking with you a clipboard, a note pad and a camera.

If there is more than one of them, do the following for each person; ask them again, writing down all the answers, who they are employed by who they are an agent for. Ask to see their ID and write down everything on it – ask if they mind you taking a photograph of it and do so, then ask for the following:

  • their bailiff’s certificate number.
  • which court certificated them.
  • what their business is
  • a full breakdown of their fees
  • to see their warrant
  • if they mind you taking a photograph of it and do so.
  • if they have a Walking Possession Order; if so, ask them to hold it for you while you take a photograph. (Don’t take hold of it if he offers it to you?)
  • ask them to complete and sign for your records, the template letter confirming their attendance on your property. When completed, post it through your mailbox.
  • ask if they saw the notice at the front gate – the Notice of Removal of Implied Right of Access

Take note if it has a court stamp and/or the signature of an agent of the court.

Take a photograph of them with your front door in the background.

Tell them politely and kindly that they have committed the statutory offence of trespass, because they have failed to comply with your notice and you will be pursuing damages in court.

If their warrant did not have either a court stamp or the signature of a court official or both then tell them politely and kindly that it is invalid and why.

  • Do NOT sign the Walking Possession Order or any other document offered to you by the bailiff.
  • Do NOT confirm your name or identity.
  • Do NOT admit the debt.

As they depart go with them and take photographs of them leaving your property (ideally with the notice in the background)

You then have the evidence to pursue them in the County Court and need to take a small claim against them.

This is the notice you can print off and put on your front door




Notice is hereby given that all implied rights of access to the property known as Your address here, are removed in respect of the following:

Any employee or agent or principal or any other person acting on behalf of the CORPORATE COURTS, COURT MESSENGER, LOCAL COUNCILS, and

Any employee or agent or principal or any other person acting on behalf of any bailiff or bank or credit union or receiver or other debt collection agency, or acting for Revenue commissioners.

Please also take notice that the land known as Ireland is a Common Law Jurisdiction and any transgression of this notice will be dealt with according to common law. Without ill-will, vexation or frivolity,


Given under the great seal

of the ancient clan of SURNAME by

(authorised representative for NAME)

WITHOUT PREJUDICE (all natural inalienable rights reserved) Warning – Failure to comply with this notice – without lawful excuse or claim of right – will be deemed common law trespass and your unconditional agreement to pay the [freeholder] the sum of €700 (seven hundred euro) or the inflation adjusted equivalent thereof in compensation & that a lawful invoice will be drawn against you with payment terms of within 7 (seven) days of service. Further you would have agreed to waive all your rights in any dealings with the [freeholder]; and dishonour will be enforced. Claim of ignorance of this lawful notice will be deemed no lawful excuse. So this is the offer to contract,


Download the Word Version of the Letter ‘NOTICE REMOVAL OF IMPLIED RIGHT OF ACCESS’

Likewise, if you receive a letter from the Bailiff or Sheriff, Send the letter below to them, straight away! Don’t forget to sign it.