Enforcement Factsheet

Messengers-at-Arms: Sheriff Officers

Enforcement in Scotland

Scott + Co, part of Marston Group, are a leading provider to court users for the provision of citation and diligence services withstrategically located offices across Scotland and the largest number of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers. We deal with all instructions in-house and covering the whole country ensures we have no need to sub-contract instructions thus providing maximum continuity of service.

We should point out that our function is to attempt to enforce orders issued by the court. We are unable to guarantee the successful recovery of any monies ordered by the court’s decision.

Simple Procedure

This procedure is for actions of £5000.00 or less and is designed to be speedy, inexpensive and to take up less of the courts time. The application process is largely paperless with much of the process being carried out online. In view of this we can accept and return instructions to serve a Simple Procedure Claim form by e-mail. In ALL Simple Procedure cases service must be attempted by recorded delivery post in the first instance. When instructing us to proceed on your behalf you should provide a Form 6A – Claim Form and Form 3D Timetable.

Enforcement Options

To proceed with diligence (the Scottish legal term for enforcement) the creditor must be in possession of a valid Extract Decree, Judgment or other document of debt containing a warrant for all lawful execution.

Where your defender/respondent is an individual, the first stage of enforcement is for one of our Sheriff Officers to serve a Charge for Payment of Money upon the defender. This is a formal prescribed demand for payment detailing the full sums due with all costs and interest and provides the defender/respondent with a period of 14 days to pay the sums due in full or to contact you and make an acceptable repayment arrangement. At this stage our Officer will assess the prospects of further enforcement and report back.

Should no payment be forthcoming within the prescribed period or suitable repayment arrangement be made, then the following options of further enforcement are available: –

Earnings Arrestment -(individual debtor only)

This document is served by us on the defender/respondent’s employer by Recorded Delivery and requires the employer to make a deduction from their salary on every payday in terms of a prescribed table of deductions. This is generally recognised as the most popular and cost-effective method of enforcement against an individual debtor in Scotland. A prior Charge for Payment must be served on the Defender with a Debt Advice and Information Package before proceeding with the Earnings Arrestment.

Please note that we do not track the effectiveness of the Earnings Arrestment when served, the Employer is directed to correspond and make deductions under the Earnings Arrestment directly to you. It is your responsibility to contact the Employer directly for any queries in the operation of the Earnings Arrestment.

Ordinary Arrestment

This allows funds in the hands of a third party (usually a Bank) to be arrested with payment of any funds frozen going to the Creditor after a period of 14 weeks unless any objection is lodged to the procedure by the debtor. There is a protected minimum balance of £529.90 for bank accounts meaning that only funds held at credit in excess of that sum can be arrested where the debtor is an individual. There is no protected minimum balance where the Defender is a business or limited company. Aprior Charge for Payment of Money is not required before service of an ordinary arrestment.

Please note that we do not track the effectiveness of the Arrestment and the Bank or third party is directed to correspond with you directly. Where funds have been attached you should receive confirmation of this from the Bank or third party within 3 weeks of the date of service of the Arrestment. If you do not hear from the Bank or third party, you should contact them to ascertain the outcome of the arrestment.


This enables the seizure of assets in the defender/respondent’s possession but only applies to assets kept outwith a dwelling place so mainly applies to motor vehicles, garden equipment etc. A separate application process must be used to apply for an Exceptional Attachment Order which authorises a seizure of assets kept within a dwelling place.We will not undertake applications for an Exceptional Attachment Order on your behalf.

Most Attachments are executed at commercial premises. Assets are appraised at an “open market” value and the process is completed by a public auction.

A prior Charge for Payment is required is required before proceeding.

Money Attachment

This can be used in commercial premises only and allows the seizure of cash within premises. Usually used for licensed premises such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, bookmakers, corner shops.

Sums of money seized are removed by the Officer and held in our clients account pending a payment order from the court authorising the release of the funds to the creditor.

A prior Charge for Payment is required is required before proceeding.


This prevents the disposal of heritable property owned by a defender/respondent in Scotland to the prejudice of the inhibiting creditor. Usually used when a defender/respondent places their property for sale. Again, a prior Charge for Payment of Money is not required for this particular enforcement procedure. The Inhibition is registered at The Registers of Scotland (ROS).

Can be used against companies and individuals and a prior Charge for Payment of Money is not required.

Other services

We also offer a full range of Tracing and Enquiry services including Pre-Litigation reports and further details can be obtained on request. Costs associated with these services are not recoverable from your debtor.

Recovery of Diligence (Enforcement) Costs

The fee for each diligence is recoverable through that diligence only and no other legal means. The Charge for Payment fee is recoverable through follow on diligence such as Earnings Arrestment, Attachment and Money Attachment. You will require to pay for each diligence fee in advance of service and regardless of whether or not that fee is recovered from the Defender.

Enforcement Factsheet Terms and Conditions