Diligence in Scotland is a legal term that is used to describe several legal procedures that can be used to enforce court orders.
In relation to debt, the main types of diligence that can be used to enforce their recovery, these are:
Bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as the ultimate diligence in Scotland.
Diligence can only be executed by Sheriff Officers. It cannot be use by debt collectors.
To use diligence the rules and procedures for doing so are different, depending on the type of diligence that is being used. They all begin, however, with a court order, or decree, or the equivalent. This can mean a Summary Warrant or a debt that has been registered for preservation and execution in the Books of Council and Session, also known as Summary Diligence.
Summary Diligence cannot be used for consumer credit debts, like credit cards, personal loans or hire purchase agreements.
What are Diligence Stoppers?
There are also several procedures that are known as Diligence Stoppers. Like the name suggests, these can stop diligence being used.
Examples of Diligence Stoppers are:
- Time to Pay Directions and Orders;
- Time Orders;
- The Debt Arrangement Scheme; and
- Statutory Moratoriums.
In addition to Diligence Stoppers, there are also several procedures that can recall specific diligence, such as Earning Arrestments.
Examples that do this are:
Diligence is Harsh but should never be Unduly Harsh
The general rule with diligence, is it is by it’s nature harsh, but should never be unduly harsh.
Where the effects of diligence are, therefore, unduly harsh, it may be possible to challenge the use of the procedure.
Reference should be made to the type of diligence used to explore how that can be done.