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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 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 court action you’ll get a document from the court called a ‘simple procedure notice of claim (form 6A)' for debts owed up to £5,000 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 claim or initial writ our guide to decision/decrees will help you understand what to do next.  It’s important that you act straight away.

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.

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 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.


In this section:


  1. Sheriff officers
  2. What is Diligence?
  3. Arrestment of wages
  4. Court Decision or Decree