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i The advice on this page applies to residents of Scotland only.

Court action in Scotland to collect debt

If you live in Scotland and your creditors start court action they’ll apply for a decree.

This information only applies to people in debt in Scotland; if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland the action your creditors can take is different.

Most court action is started in the sheriff court, but for larger or more complex cases the creditor may start a case in the Court of Session.

If your creditor decides to take court action you’ll get a document from the court called a ‘summons' for most debts or an ‘initial writ’ for larger debts over £5,000.

For debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act, the creditor must have sent you a default notice and given you at least 14 days to reply before they can start court action.

If you get a summons or initial writ our guide to decrees will help you understand what to do next.  It’s important that you act straight away.

If you ignore the summons or initial writ, or if you don’t make the payment that’s asked for in a decree, your creditor can begin diligence to recover the debt.

Help and advice

Court action from creditors is a warning sign that your debt problem could be getting serious. It’s never too late to get debt help, and we can give you advice on completing any court forms and on dealing with all of your debts.

You can use our online Debt Remedy tool, or call our Helpline (free from all landlines and mobiles). We'll give you expert tailored advice on how to get your situation back on track.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2016