What is Diligence?

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:

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. 


Readers Questions

  1. Gordon

    I am trying to recover £700 deposit paid to a central heating engineers for materials for work that was to be carried out . Six months later the work has not been done and they said they would repay the sum. Needless to say this has not happened despite repeated communications where payment is meant to be forthcoming. I am now seeking a court order to recover the amount, once obtained can I arrest for the full sum including court costs?

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Gordon

      Best thing to do is speak to your local advice agency and ask if they can advise. It would be a Simple Procedure action you would need to raise in your local Sheriff Court, but there is a catch. Getting a Court Order is one thing, recovering the money often involves instructing Sheriff Officers, who cost, and there is no guarantee you will succeed in recovering the money.
      Find you local advice agency here.

  2. Garry

    Hi Scottish Advisor

    Can Sheriff Officers take money from a pics account or a post office savings account as you know the Poca account is stopping in Nov 2022 and I will need to transfer money in account to a bank account.

    I’m worried that this money will be arrested as it will not show as benefit earnings once transferred.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Garry

      I would suggest you should probably speak to your local advice agency about your debt problems if your worried Sheriff Officers may freeze your bank account.

      Click on the link Here to find you Local Advicd Agency.

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