What is a Decree in Scotland?
If you don’t pay a debt, further action could be taken, and you could be faced with a court decree.
This court order can lead to enforcement – so you could end up with Sheriff Officers at your door or have your wages taken.
We’re going to run you through exactly what a court decree is, how to avoid it, and what to do if you receive one.
What is a decree?
A decree is essentially a ‘money judgement’ issued by the sheriff courts – basically, the court has backed the creditor’s claim and is forcing you to pay the money you owe.
On top of this, you’ll owe additional interest as well as court expenses, for the time taken to complete legal action. The Sheriff Court passes these details onto the Registry Trust, who then let the credit reference agencies know.
If you don’t pay up, the last resort is facing a petition for Bankruptcy (Sequestration in Scotland), which can mean the end of your business.
Isn’t that a CCJ?
Decrees are the Scottish equivalent to the County Court Judgements (CCJ) that are used in England and Wales.
They work exactly the same. Just like a CCJ, a decree will stay on your credit file for 6 years from the date of the money judgement.
This stays whether you paid the money owed straight away or not. When it’s paid, however, it will be shown as a “satisfied” decree.
I owe money – how can I prevent a Scottish decree getting issued?
The simplest option, obviously, is to pay it. Easier said than done, so we’ll assume that’s not a possibility.
Your only other main option is to request extra time. If the time limits for repayment are unrealistic for you, you’re legally entitled to request additional time. This allows you to pay off the debt in less frequent instalments, or even in a deferred lump sum.
If you end up with a decree and don’t pay it or receive extra time, your creditor can legally take enforcement action. This can take the form of:
- Attachment: Bailiffs (Sheriff Officers in Scotland) can take some items that are kept outside of your home and auction it off for payment. It’s essential that you’re aware of what power Sheriff Officers actually have.
- Earnings Arrestment: This is where money owed is taken directly from your wages.
- Bank Arrestment: Money that is in your bank account is frozen.
Having enforcement action taken against you can be extremely distressing – but try not to panic. Seek advice immediately and reach out to one of our experts.
How can I get a money judgement marked as satisfied on my credit file?
In Scotland, the court won’t issue a certification of satisfaction (when the money owed has been repaid in full).
There are a few things you’ll need to do:
- Make sure you have full, accurate details of the judgement. To be sure, it can be worth contacting the court where the action was taken for further information. Contact details can be found on the Scot Courts website.
- You’ll need to get a letter of satisfaction from the person who initiated the action against you – the pursuer. Their solicitor will likely deal with this. Make sure the letter includes the following details:
- Name of the court and the case number.
- The date of the decree.
- Amount stated in the decree.
- The date that the debt was fully repaid.
- Send this to Registry Trust Limited 153 – 157 Cleveland Street London W1T 6QW. You’ll need to include their admin fee and confirm your name/address. More info is available on the Registry Trust site.
Will that remove the money judgement from my credit file?
Unfortunately, you can’t altogether remove a money judgement from your file – even if satisfied.
The only way that it’ll be removed from the Register is if the court decree has been recalled by the Scottish Court, paid in full within one month of the date of the decree, or if it was made in error.
If you think you’re eligible for recall, complete this application and send it to the address on the form.
A court decree (or CCJs in England and Wales) is usually the final step in reclaiming a debt. This court judgement can result in you having wages arrested or your bank accounts frozen.
If you’re facing a court decree, you should do your best to resolve the debt before it gets to that point. You can do this either by requesting extra time or coming to an agreement with your creditor.
If you’ve already received one, don’t panic. Our expert team is on hand to give you debt advice and get you out of a sticky situation. To get in touch, contact us on 0141 483 7477, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.