Earning Arrestments (or wage arrestments) are a tool that Creditors can use to recover their debts, once they have taken you to Court.
They can, however, be both prevented and recalled using different legal debt procedures in Scotland.
Below we outline what these procedures are.
Statutory moratoriums provide you with six weeks protection from a creditor executing any diligence, such as a wage arrestment.
However, you can only use a Statutory Moratorium once in ever 12 month rolling period, so it is important to do so with caution, and only after you have sought advice.
The idea behind it is during those six weeks, you should take steps to protect yourself, so that you have a long term solution in place at the end of the Moratorium.
A Statutory Moratorium, however, will not help if an Earnings Arrestment is already in place.
Time to Pay Directions/ Orders
Time to Pay Orders can also be used to lift an Earnings Arrestment. You can only apply for one, however, if you have not previously applied for one for the same debt.
Time to Pay Orders are applied for via the Sheriff Court and do not cost anything, although you may be liable for fees if you use a solicitor or the creditor is represented in court and you are not successful.
Debt Arrangement Scheme
A Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme can also lift an earning arrestment, but only once it has been approved.
On approval the arrestment is lifted, as the debt is being re-paid through the Programme.
However, you cannot apply for a Debt Payment Programme if you have more than one wage arrestment (a conjoined arrestment), unless an additional creditor decides to take further action.
Protected Trust Deeds
A Protected Trust Deed lifts an Earnings Arrestment once it becomes protected.
A Trust Deed is protected five weeks after the creditors are notified by the Trustee that one has been granted and providing enough creditors don’t object to it. The Accountant in Bankruptcy also have to agree to register it.
As Trust Deeds include all debts accrued prior to them being granted, the creditors are able to make a claim in the Trust Deed.
The final method that can be used to lift an Earning Arrestment is an award of bankruptcy, otherwise known as Sequestration in Scotland.
Once the sequestration is awarded by the Accountant in Bankruptcy, or by the Court (where a creditor makes you bankrupt), the Trustee notifies the creditor and the wage arrestment should cease.
Like with Protected Trust Deeds, the creditor should then make a claim in the bankruptcy.