Government strengthens its independent position from bailiffs

To make sure that bailiffs can carry out their official duties independently and impartially, the government will adjust the relevant fixed fees in accordance with the advice from the Oskam Committee. The government will also place limits on the possibility of making price agreements with creditors in the form of so-called kickback fees, where the creditor can benefit financially from the official acts performed by the bailiff. That is what Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection, writes to the House of Representatives in the government response to the report by the Oskam Committee on fees and market operations for bailiffs.

Minister Dekker:
“If we want to have a fair and just society, we need bailiffs who do their job independently and impartially. Bailiffs make sure, for example, that a court judgement is implemented properly. To guarantee that position, we will adjust the fees for official acts and curb the possibilities for so-called kickback fees. That increases the bailiff’s independence from creditors and reduces the risk of people with debts being disadvantaged.”

Fee adjustment

The Oskam Committee suggests an adjustment to the fees, based on an investigation of the costs of so-called official acts performed by bailiffs, such as the seizure of goods. The government has adopted this recommendation, as bailiffs must be able to receive a fair payment for their official duties. The adjustment contributes to this. On the basis of a fair payment, bailiffs can do their work independently, in a socially responsible manner.

Prevention of kickback fees

Agreements between bailiffs and their clients (creditors) are part of market operations. We are not going to change that. What should be prevented, though, is a situation where the agreements between bailiff and client include undesirable incentives, for example to perform more official acts than is strictly necessary. Agreements where the client benefits financially from the official acts performed by the bailiff are undesirable. Such “kickback fees” are detrimental to the bailiff’s independent position. The government therefore links the desirable adjustment of fees to a restriction in making price agreements, including kickback fees. The fees are only adjusted if the proposed restriction in making this type of price agreements is also implemented.