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If you live in Scotland and your creditors start court action they’ll apply for a decision/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 you to court, you’ll get:
For debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act, the creditor must have already sent you a default notice and given you at least 14 days to reply before starting court action.
It’s important that you act straight away. Our guide to decision/decrees will help you understand what to do next.
If you ignore the claim or initial writ, or if you don’t make the payment that’s asked for in a decision/decree, your creditor can begin diligence to recover the debt.
HM Courts and Tribunal Services have confirmed that face-to-face hearings are still going ahead with social distancing measures in place. However, if you have any coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating, you should not go to any court buildings.
If you, or the people going to court with you do have confirmed or possible coronavirus, you should contact the court as soon as possible.
You can find more advice and guidance from HM Courts and Tribunal Services here.
Decrees are the Scottish equivalent of money judgments, known as County Court judgments (CCJs), in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It depends on the type of debt and whether court action has already been taken against you. The timescale for a debt regulated by the Consumer Credit Act to be ‘prescribed’ in Scotland is generally five years.
When a debt is prescribed it ceases to exist. Creditors cannot chase you for the money owed.
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 advice tool, or call us (free from all landlines and mobiles). We'll give you expert tailored advice on how to get your situation back on track.