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Glossary of terms

Some legal terms pertinent to our services, listed from A to Z.

Act of Sederunt
Acts of Sederunt are used primarily to regulate civil procedure in the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts in Scotland. The fees charged by Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers are regulated by Act of Sederunt; it is thus forbidden for these Officers of Court to discount their fees to win business.
Where funds belonging to a debtor are held in the hands of a third party (such as a bank) an arrestment can be lodged with the third party “freezing” the said funds and prohibiting the third party from releasing the funds to the debtor.
Articles owned or in possession of a debtor individual or company can be listed and valued in security of a debt constituted by decree or by extract registered judgment for payment. Under certain circumstances the articles can be removed to a place of safety prior to auction and sale. (Note: generally most household items are excluded from attachment unless considered luxuries and not essentially required, to prevent undue hardship to debtors and members of their family).
Auction and sale
Official sale of attached goods, which can be held on commercial premises of the debtor or debtor company or taken to an auction room and sold.
Charge for payment
A notice served upon a debtor individual or company based upon a Scottish decree or an extract registered judgment requiring that a debt is paid within a 14 day period, failing which further enforcement may proceed.
A summons or writ containing a statement of claim and details of amount claimed, which is served on the debtor. In Scotland, hand service of legal documents must be carried out by a qualified Officer of Court: “process servers” are not recognised by the Scottish judiciary.
To summon a party, witness or juror to court.
Conjoined arrestment order
Where a second creditor seeks to recover a debt from a debtor’s employer who is already making deductions, the second creditor must apply to the relevant Sheriff Court via an application for a conjoined arrestment order. The Sheriff Court then administers payments to both creditors from the deductions made by the employer.
A Scottish court order issued by a Judge or Sheriff, enabling enforcement against a named individual debtor or company by Officers of Court.
The legal process of enforcing the repayment of debts by methods such as arrestment, attachment and inhibition. Following issue of a decree, a Sheriff Officer or Messenger-at-Arms may be instructed to enforce the Court’s decision.
Earnings arrestment
A court order following expiry of a charge for payment upon a Scottish decree or an extract registered judgment, ordering an employer to make deductions from a debtor’s salary or wage.
Exceptional attachment order
After application to the Sheriff Court and following a hearing, a special court order can be made allowing attachment to take place within a debtor’s dwelling place of non-essential items.
Something that is done outside of court.
Extract registered judgment
A judgment originally emanating outwith Scotland but registered in the Books and Council of Session, Edinburgh, for warrant to enforce in Scotland.
A court order based upon a Scottish decree or an extract registered judgment preventing sale of a debtor’s property in security of a debt owed.
Initial writ
The formal document in the Sheriff Court by which an action is initiated against a defender.
A court order prohibiting a defender from carrying out a specified act or series of acts.
The territorial boundaries of a court.
The person who raises an action and makes a claim against a defender.
Official court papers and pleadings lodged in connection with an action.
A statement of record of the evidence a person may be expected to give if called as a witness.
To raise a civil action.
A legal document issued by a court or judicial officer compelling a defender to attend court in a civil matter.
The formal delivery of an official document.
Variation of conjoined arrestment order
Where other creditors attempt to arrest the same debtor’s earnings an application must be made to vary the amounts already being deducted and paid to creditors via the Sheriff Court in order that all creditors receive an equal share.
Any writing that has legal significance.