Strengthening the position of independent bailiffs
The Royal Dutch Organisation of Bailiffs (KBvG) and Minister Dekker (Legal Protection) have signed a covenant on the future way of working together and the commitment to important issues, such as the extension of the temporary coronavirus measure allowing documents to be posted through the letter box and digitisation. With this covenant, the parties strengthen the crucial position of bailiffs in the legal system, which is evidenced, among other things, by their power to summon people to appear in court and execute court decisions.
Sander Dekker, Minister for Legal Protection, says,
‘The coronavirus crisis has increased the risk of unpaid bills and people with debts getting further into trouble. It is precisely for this reason that there is a need for independent bailiffs who ensure that debts are repaid, while at the same time taking into account the situation of persons who have to pay. Thanks to these agreements, bailiffs will be able to continue to effectively fulfil their role in the future as well.’
With a view to good cooperation, the KBvG and the Ministry of Justice and Security want to make joint progress in various areas in the short, medium and long term. This concerns, for example, the extension of the temporary coronavirus measure allowing bailiffs to deliver their documents by posting them through the letterbox of the person being served, without this affecting the legal validity of these documents. In the longer term, this involves making progress in areas such as the digitisation of summonses and developments within the profession.
With the covenant, the parties are working together on an agenda for the future, to ensure that the Dutch legal system will be able to rely on independent and highly qualified bailiffs for many years to come. They are investing in the future of the profession by, for example, taking a closer look at the effects of new policies on the role and rates of bailiffs. In addition, following the recommendations of the Oskam Committee, the debtor’s fees (the costs of the bailiff charged to persons in debt) will be adjusted, and limits will be set on the price agreements that bailiffs and instructing parties are allowed to make. This will ensure that persons in debt know where they stand and that bailiffs can charge an appropriate fee, allowing them to fulfil their independent role accurately both now and in the years to come.