Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago

Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs

Laws Governing Private Bailiffs

A Private Bailiff is a person licensed and statutorily authorized to provide certain services to the public to enable them to enforce their legal remedies without recourse to the court.

All bailiffs in Trinidad and Tobago are regulated by a number of laws. The main is the Bailiffs Act, Chap. 4:61. As regards Private Bailiffs, the Act provides for the following:

  1. Procedures for becoming a Private Bailiff through a registration and licensing system.
  2. Mandatory yearly training.
  3. Complaint and disciplinary procedures.
  4. Procedures for the revocation and suspension of licences.
  5. Statutory functions also known as Bailiff actions.
  6. Code of Conduct.
  7. Bi-annual publication in both the Gazette and at least 2 daily newspapers of the official list of licensed private bailiffs.
  8. Criminalises certain activities and provides penalties for infringements.
  9. Role of the Petty Civil Court, Registrar of the Supreme Court and the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs.
In addition, the Petty Civil Court Act, Chap 4:21, empowers and protects Private Bailiff who conduct Bailiff actions further to the Bailiffs Act.

These powers are:

  1. Take into custody a person who assaults him while he performs his functions.
  2. Take into custody, a person who takes or rescues goods which the other legislation provide the basis for hiring a Private Bailiff.

Other specific pieces of legislation relate to specific functions as stated under section 9 of the Bailiffs Act. These are the Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, Chap. 27. No. 16 and Hire Purchase Act, Chap. 82:33 which provides the conditions under which Private Bailiffs may be hired.
Auctioneers Act, Chap. 84:03, provides for the legal monetary limits for auctioning of goods distrained by a bailiff.
In addition, there are a number of special legal rules, known as the common law, which govern the way in which Private Bailiffs carry out their services.