Decrees in Scotland

When someone defaults on a payment (eg they fail to pay an invoice or bill) the company or individual which is owed money (the creditor) may decide to seek a county court judgment (CCJ) against the person who owes them money (the debtor) as a way of claiming the money owed. In Scotland a CCJ is referred to as a Decree and is issued by the Sheriff Courts.

In Scotland, a Decree is publicly recorded on the Registry Trust and will remain on an individual’s credit file for six years from the original judgment date, whether the balance has been paid or not.

The Scottish courts will serve a Charge for Payment on the debtor. This is a formal demand for payment served by a sheriff officer (a Scottish bailiff). This gives the debtor 14 days to pay the debt. If payment is not made within the 14 days then the creditor can enforce the decree using a variety of enforcement methods. The enforcement of debt following court action in Scotland is called diligence. 

Methods of diligence include: 

  • Earnings arrestment (regular deductions from your wages) 

  • Bank arrestment (the freezing of funds in your bank account) 

  • Attachment (a sheriff officer can ‘attach’ (ie. take possession of) certain items outside your home, for example a garage or shed. 

How you respond to a Decree depends on the type of case: 

  • Simple procedure (if your case is worth less than £5000 and isn’t compex)

  • Ordinary cause (if your case is worth more than £5000 or is complicated)

For both procedures you can either pay the amount in full or dispute it. 

How can a claim be disputed?

In Scotland, an appeal against the court decision can be made to the Sheriff Appeal Court within 14 days. There is a fee payable to register the appeal but legal aid may be available for an appeal against a decision under the simple procedure. 

If a dispute fails, a Decree will be recorded in the Register.

As with a CCJ, a Decree will remain on your credit file for six years from the original judgment date, whether the balance has been paid or not. Once the Decree is paid it should show as satisfied on your credit file. 

Decrees can only be removed from the Register if they are: 

  • Recalled by the court 

  • Entered in error 

  • Paid in full within one calendar month of the date of decree

You can apply for the Register to be updated by sending the original documents and proof of payment to the Registry Trust.

In Scotland, you can apply to the court to amend a Decree decision by completing a Form 9D.  It may also be possible for you to recall a decision by the sheriff using a Form 13B.