Enforcement action (debt recovery) - What happens next?
Having received the Act of Court, depending on the assessed urgency, HM Sheriff enforcement staff will then write to the defendant within 24 hours requesting that the defendant should either settle the action and make contact with an enforcement officer within 7 days to discuss the matter.
What happens if the debtor contacts the Office of HM Sheriff?
Full payment - Hopefully the debtor will contact an enforcement officer and inform them that the matter has been resolved. If this occurs, the enforcement officer will check with the Plaintiff that this is the case before returning the Act of Court to the Plaintiff with a brief report.
A Defendant should make the payment directly to the Plaintiff, but only in exceptional circumstances will it be permissible for the monies to paid to the Office of HM Sheriff for onwards transmission to the Plaintiff.
What happens if full payment is not possible? - The enforcement officer will either conduct an interview with the debtor on the telephone or face to face to discuss enforcement options. In the cases of debt the debtor will be informed that a statement of means is required and that they will need to illustrate their Income / expenditure and also prove large amounts of income and outgoings.
What happens during an enforcement interview? - Depending on the circumstances an initial enforcement interview will either be conducted on the telephone, at the office of HM Sheriff or at the debtor's home address.
During an enforcement interview the enforcement officer will discuss with the defendant how they intend to pay back the debt. An income and expenditure statement will be produced so that the enforcement officer can ascertain how much the defendant is able to pay. If the offer of the debtor is clearly disproportionate to the amount of the debt and unlikely to be acceptable to the Plaintiff then the enforcement officer may need to consider making an arrest of belongings of value.
The Enforcement Officer must also use his/her best endeavour to satisfy themselves that the debtor has the means available to pay the amount agreed and does not put the debtor into undue hardship, otherwise any payment plan is likely to fail shortly after it starts.
What happens after the interview?
After the interview the Enforcement Officer will produce a report and send this to the Plaintiff along with the original Act of Court.