478. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislation that governs the regulation and registration of private security firms operating on behalf of a bailiff or the courts; the progress of the working group that has been established to examine the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1536/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The law and procedures governing the execution of Court Orders is contained in the Enforcement of Court Orders Acts, 1926 to 1940 and the Rules of Court made thereunder. Sheriffs or County Registrars acting as Sheriffs are responsible to the Court for the enforcement of court orders. Sheriffs are officers of the court and are independent in the exercise of their functions and duties under statute and rules of court.
The Enforcement of Court Orders Acts 1926 to 1940 also govern the role, function and powers of Court Messengers who support Sheriffs (or County Registrars acting as Sheriffs) in the enforcement of court orders. Every Court Messenger when assisting in or executing an execution order is furnished with a warrant in writing authorising the Court Messenger to execute or take part in the execution of the execution order.
The Deputy will appreciate that I have no role in these matters but I am informed that the enforcement of a court order is considered on a case-by-case basis and where additional support may be required, for example, where the court has granted an order for possession, the Sheriff assesses the risks involved and makes his/her recommendations to the bank or lending institution’s solicitor as to what additional security arrangements may be necessary. I understand that these additional personnel are sourced, contracted and paid for by the bank or lending institution and the Sheriff then appoints them as bailiffs. The employment of bailiffs in these circumstances is governed by section 2 of the Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1924.
I convened a Working Group to examine the administrative, legislative, resource, security and other matters necessary to bring the regulation and licensing of security personnel assisting those enforcing court orders within the remit of the Private Security Authority. I expect to receive a report from the group, which is chaired by a senior official in my Department, shortly. I will consider the legislation that governs the regulation and registration of private security firms operating on behalf of a bailiff or the courts further when this report is received and take all the necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the legislation is robust and comprehensive.