Bailiffs and enforcement agents

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It is critical for private sector development that businesses have the confidence not only in their ability to protect their contractual and statutory rights in the courts, but also to recover judgment debt. Ineffective mechanisms to ensure compliance with court decisions have a corrosive effect on the investment climate and the rule of law.

Inefficiency in the enforcement of court judgments is a substantial problem affecting the justice systems in the EBRD regions. In an EBRD study of problems affecting commercial justice in the region, the implementation of decisions was identified as the most problematic area – worse even than the lack of impartiality in court decisions. In the most recent Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) conducted by the EBRD and the World Bank, business respondents in all EBRD countries of operations considered the ability of the justice system to enforce court judgments to be very low. A substantial minority of respondents to the BEEPS believed that decisions were ‘never’ enforced.

We have conducted a detailed regional analysis of the law and practice surrounding the enforcement of courts’ decisions, and have advised governments on reform of the relevant legislative framework, including on matters such as access to information on debtors’ assets, improved sale and auction procedures, the accrual of interest on judgment debt, and the role of the private sector in providing enforcement services. The LTP has also conducted training and capacity-building activities for bailiffs.

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