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Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002


29.This part of the Act introduces a new method of enforcement, or diligence, for the attachment of corporeal moveable property. The law of diligence provides procedures by which legal obligations, usually imposed by an order of the civil courts, can be enforced. Different procedures for the enforcement of obligations concerning legally constituted debt apply to different types of property. Corporeal moveable property is property which is tangible (corporeal), is not fixed like land or buildings and can be handled and moved (moveable).

30.Rules of court will make supplementary provision for the manner in which the procedural requirements under this Part of the Act are to be undertaken within the court process – for example, regarding intimation of documents and steps in procedure, the conduct of hearings and the manner in which applications to the sheriff or appeals against decisions may be made (including provision of forms to be used). The Act of Sederunt (Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002) 2002 , which came into force on 30 December 2002, makes provision for the rules to be applied under the Act.

Section 10 – Attachment

31.This section creates a new diligence over corporeal moveable property for recovery of legally constituted debt, to be known as attachment.

32.Section 10(3) and (4) provide that attachment is only competent where the debtor has been charged to pay the sum owed together with interest accrued and the creditor has provided the debtor with a debt advice and information package. In the absence of a charge to pay in summary warrant cases, the creditor must provide the debtor with a debt advice and information package before taking any steps to carry out an attachment.

33.Section 10(5) defines terms used in this section. It specifies that the debt advice and information package is to contain such information as may be determined by the Scottish Ministers. It also specifies the meaning of decree and document of debt.

Section 11 – Articles exempt from attachment

34.This section specifies property which is to be exempt from attachment.

35.Section 11(1) provides that it will not be competent to attach articles which are reasonably required for the debtor’s profession, trade or business, and which do not exceed an aggregate value of £1,000. In particular, tools of trade, books other equipment may not be attached. This will enable valuable property to be attached whilst permitting the debtor to retain items which will allow him to continue his business and generate income. This is in line with recommendations 7 and 11 of the Scottish Law Commission in its Report on Poinding and Warrant Sale (Scot Law Com No177). Specific provision is also made to exempt a vehicle reasonably required by the debtor and not exceeding £1000, and a mobile home which is the debtor’s only or principal residence. Gardening equipment necessary for keeping a debtor's garden or yard adjacent to where the debtor lives is also exempted.

36.Section 11(2) allows the Scottish Ministers to add or remove and vary the items exempted by regulations. This will provide flexibility in order to meet changing circumstances or where it is considered that further debtor protection may be needed.

Section 12 – Times when articles may not be attached

37.Section 12 specifies days on which attachment may not take place, namely on a Sunday, a day which is a public holiday in the area in which the attachment is to be executed or any other day prescribed by rules of court. It also specifies times during which attachment may not take place, restricting it to between 8am and 8pm unless prior authority has been obtained from the sheriff.

Section 13 – Presumption of ownership

38.Section 13 provides a presumption that articles in the possession of a debtor are owned by the debtor, either solely or in common with a third party.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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