If a High Court Enforcement Officer contacts you, it usually means that you have a creditor that has gone through a court process in order to recover a debt.  High Court Enforcement Officers in Scotland, are known as Messengers-at-Arms or Sheriff Officers. They are also known as Judicial Officers and these individuals have the power to institute an enforcement action. 

It is unwise to ignore contact that has been made by a Messenger-at-Arms or a Sheriff Officer. Once they have made contact you will be required to make an arrangement on how to pay the amount that you owe in full, negotiate a plan to pay the debt off in installments, or dispute your debt. If you don’t, enforcement action can be taken up against you, which means your goods could be seized to pay off the debt


Creditors’ Inability To Collect Their Debts

A visit or letter from a High Court Enforcement Officer/Judicial Officer might not come as a surprise since many attempts have probably been made already to recover a debt from you. Judicial Officers will only proceed with debt collection processes once a creditor decides they have exhausted every other avenue. Find out who can use court enforcement services.

When a creditor is unable to collect a debt it may have arisen due to you not responding as a debtor, or when a payment arrangement has failed. A final notice will be issued to you for payment and then legal action will be instituted. 

At this stage, it is important to obtain professional advice on what you need to do. A licensed Insolvency Practitioner can provide valuable expertise and this can assist you in making an informed choice on what you should be doing next. 

When a Messenger-at Arms or High Court Enforcement Officer contacts you, the court should have already issued your paperwork to you. This can happen when you were refused a Time to Pay arrangement application, and then this is when an officer makes contact to enforce the decree of the court. 


What Is An Enforcement Of A Court Decree?

The enforcement of debts in Scotland is called “diligence”. Once the court issues a decree, the action(s) and type that will be taken against the debtor will depend on his/her circumstances, which will include the amount and type of debt that is owed. 

Enforcement actions can include one (or more) of the following:

  • Arrestment of your goods (outside your home)
  • Arrestment of your earnings
  • Exceptional Attachment Order for goods in your home
  • Bankruptcy (which is also called “sequestration”)
  • Freezing one or more of your bank accounts

A High Court Enforcement Officer/Judicial Officer serves a Charge for Payment and will provide you with a Debt Advice and Information Package. If your debt is under £25,000, you might still be permitted to apply for the Time to Pay order, but you have to do this or pay your debts in full within 14 days to avoid any further enforcement actions. 

If your debt still remains unpaid, creditors might be allowed to request another Arrestment Order. The Exceptional Attachment Order for goods in your home is usually only granted if every other avenue has failed. 

If your debt levels have reached such a serious level, it is in your best interest to contact a licensed Insolvency Practitioner. High Court Enforcement Officers in Wales and England and Judicial Officers in Scotland, are required to follow a very precise code of conduct, and they must adhere to the stringent court regulations if they have to serve citations and writs and to carry out these procedures with due diligence.