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Bankruptcy trustees appeal to minister to break free from debt-laden bailiffs

Euros. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

A proposal to separate the currently joint institution of bailiffs and bankruptcy trustees into two entities has been put forward as a way of dealing with claims against bailiffs who are in financial difficulty, some of whom no longer work in that role.

According to the bankruptcy trustees (Pankrotihaldurid) covering claims against bailiffs (Kohtutäiturid )out of membership fees paid is not viable.

In a letter to Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) Terje Eipre, head of the Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy (Kohtutäiturite ja Pankrotihaldurite Koda, KPK) stated that: "We have propose initiating a bill for the division of the chamber into two separate public legal entities, to be served by a joint office."

The KPK should also receive its assets during the course of this division. "Especially the funds in its own account," Eipre noted.

Otherwise, claims via enforcement proceedings turned against the chamber may jeopardize financial resources collected from the professional association's membership fees, Eipre noted.

The professional association does not want to take risks with the funds it has amassed, in short.

On the other hand, if the current joint bank accounts of the chamber of bailiffs and bankruptcy trustees were seized, whose membership fees were whose would be a moot point, she added.

"It would probably take years for the bailiffs' association (Kohtutäiturite Ametikogu) years to compensate the professional association of bankruptcy trustees for the possible damage," Eipre added.

Current law has it that if a bailiff does not have enough money to compensate for damages caused, it will be taken from the chamber's account.

The chamber's budget is divided into three: One pot currently contains the money of the bankruptcy trustees' professional association, the second, the money of the bailiffs' professional association, and the third consists of the chamber's common money.

Thus far, damages have been compensated from the bailiffs' money pot, but this may not suffice for much longer.

The bank account of the bailiffs association currently has €150,000 in the kitty. While there is a clause in the law that keeps bailiffs' and trustees' money separate, this may not help trustees.

Two recent cases have seen damages stretching into the hundreds of thousands.

In one case, the chamber has unsuccessfully attempted to recoup debts of €200,000 going back to 2018, while in another pending case, the sum is €300,000, including from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the tax authority, the MTA.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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