New section 73R – Hearing on application under section 73Q for release of property
719.Following an application by a debtor under section 73Q, the sheriff may, if satisfied that the arrestment is unduly harsh to the debtor or any other person listed in this section (certain family members), and taking into account the circumstances of the case, make an order for the release of some or all of the arrested funds or moveable property. A sheriff could, for example, take into account whether the arrested funds or some of them were needed by the debtor for what might be termed “essential services” such as to pay a carer or to pay rent.
720.Where funds are attached, the sheriff must, in particular, consider the source of the funds (for example, whether any funds to the credit of a debtor in a bank account derive from state benefits or tax credits) and whether there is already a diligence in effect in relation to those funds, such as an earnings arrestment.
721.Where the sheriff refuses to make a hardship order the sheriff may, where funds are attached, order the automatic release of funds on the expiry of the 14 week period set out in section 73J(3) or, where that period has already passed, as soon as reasonably practicable after the date on which the order to release is made.
722.Where someone wishes to appeal against the decision of the sheriff (for example an aggrieved debtor or creditor), they have 14 days to do so after the decision is made. An appeal may be made to the sheriff principal on a point of law only and the decision of the sheriff principal is final.