An arrestment is a form of diligence which can be used to recover funds owed to a creditor by a debtor in Scotland. This blog will focus specifically on the use of bank arrestments.
Ten things you need to know about bank arrestments:-
- You need either a document (such as a lease or minute of agreement) registered in the Books of Council of Session or a Decree following a court judgement.
- They are served by sheriff officers on the debtor's bank account.
- If you don't know the bank used by the debtor, you can serve arrestments on multiple banks at the same time, in the hope of finding the debtor's account.
- An arrestment 'ringfences' funds in the bank account up to the value of the arrears.
- It will only catch funds in the account at the time of the arrestment.
- The bank must tell the creditor within 3 weeks of the arrestment being served if it has been successful. The bank does not need to disclose anything if the arrestment has been unsuccessful.
- Funds which can be 'ringfenced' are subject to the protected minimum balance where the debtor is an individual. This currently sits at £529.90. There is no protected minimum balance where the account is used for business purposes.
- The debtor is allowed a period of 14 weeks to contest the arrestment (by application to the appropriate Sheriff Court). Upon expiry of the 14 weeks without challenge, the funds are automatically released by the bank to the creditor.
- The debtor can authorise the early release of funds.
- Traditionally only bank accounts opened in Scotland could be caught by an arrestment but now it may be possible to arrest a debtor's bank account if it was opened outside Scotland. This does, however, depend on the T&Cs of the bank account.