The Bailiff Office is attached to the courts of first instance. As a consequence, it is erroneously perceived as part of the judiciary. In fact, the Bailiff Office is expected to execute both judicial decisions and a certain category of administrative decisions (the so-called writs of execution).

Whereas a new law on the Bailiff Office is being prepared by the Ministry of Justice in conjunction with the Institute for Policy & Legal Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Studies, for the time being, the Bailiff Office conducts its business in virtue of articles 527-617 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The said provisions are divided into ten chapters dealing respectively with the following issues:

  • General notions relevant to the execution of final judicial decisions;
  • Execution of seizure on movable properties;
  • Execution of seizure on immovable properties as well as on means of maritime and air transport;
  • Execution of seizure on credits of debtor and on properties that third persons owe to the debtor;
  • Execution of seizure on financial obligations towards budgetary institutions;
  • Execution of seizure on sums deposited in bank accounts;
  • Execution of obligation to relinquish a definite object;
  • Execution of obligation for performance of a determined action;
  • Means of defence against execution of decisions;
  • Suspension and cessation of execution.

As for the execution of administrative writs of executions, the Bailiff Office derives authority directly from the law (a typical sentence in a law would be the decision x of authority y is a writ of execution to be executed by the Bailiff Office).

In terms of procedure, the Office uses, by analogy, the procedure specified in the Code of Civil Procedure for the judicial decisions.

Presently, there is no law on the Organisation of the Bailiff Office except for a few provisions in a Law of 1991 on the Ministry of Justice. Obviously it is badly needed (the Ministry of Justice is already considering some drafts).

From the point of view of funding, the Office is considered to be part of the judiciary. Its budget (it is extremely meagre) is a part of the overall judicial budget.

The upcoming law on the Bailiff Office should provide a response to the following issues:

  • The Bailiff Office should become part of the executive branch of Government and be under the authority of the Ministry of Justice;
  • As a government agency, the Bailiff Office should base its activity on a separate law which would define questions as different as mission of the office, its functions and powers, internal organisation and hierarchy and procedures for the execution and so on (a comprehensive check list is needed before the beginning of drafting)
  • Its would be advisable for the territorial distribution of the branches to coincide with that of the courts since most of the office's workload comes from the courts;
  • The individual officers of the office should acquire the status of the police officers;
  • It should be envisaged in the law the obligation for institutional co-ordination and co-operation with state institutions such as police, local government etc;

In several occasions, the Government has expressed its willingness to co-operate with all interested actors during the legislative process.

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Institute for Policy & Legal Studies 2000