Walker Love is a firm of Messenger-at-Arms & Sheriff Officers. With Sheriff Officer and field force staff working across Scotland with a high degree of local knowledge of consumer and commercial debtors within each area >more
Key facts and information:
What is a ‘Messenger-at-Arms’ and ‘Sheriff Officer’?
In Scotland Messenger-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers are responsible for the enforcement of the civil law. Both titles are known generally as Officers of the Court.
A creditor can instruct a Sheriff Officer to order a debtor to pay the amount they owe or to return the goods that haven’t been fully paid for.
A Messenger-at-Arms is an Officer of the Court of Session which is the supreme civil court in Scotland. A Sheriff Officer is an Officer of the local Sheriff Court. Scotland is sub-divided in to six Sheriffdoms which are divided further, into numerous Sheriff Court Districts. When instructing a Sheriff Officer it is important to establish that he is authorised by the local Sheriff (commissioned) to operate in the area where you wish to have your legal papers served.
What is a citation?
One of the primary functions of a Messenger-at-Arms or Sheriff Officer is to effect the service of Writs, Summonses, Citation, Claim Forms, Subpoena and all other process.
The summons or initial writ will ask you to make the court aware what you intend to do by a specified date. Do not ignore this date. You can:
- pay the money you owe.
- tell the court that you will repay but require more time to pay – if the time to pay request is granted, the court will issue a decree detailing how much you have to pay and how often.
- tell the court you owe the money but do not ask for time to repay. The court will normally issue a decree which will order you to repay the debt as well as interest and other costs.
- Dispute the amount owed – a hearing date will be set to allow the court to listen to you and your creditor(s).
- Do nothing – the court will presume you owe the money and issue a decree which will order you to repay the debt, plus interest and expenses.
It is important to note that Process Servers are not recognised by the Scottish Judiciary when it comes to the service of legal documents within Scotland. All hand service must be effected by a qualified Officer of the Court.
What is diligence? (Judgement enforcement)
When a Sheriff or Judge issues his/her judgment (Decree) then the Sheriff Officer or Messenger-at-Arms may be instructed to enforce the Court’s decision by way of diligence.
Generally, a Charge for Payment would be issued allowing the defender/debtor fourteen days to resolve the matter. If they fail to repay the debt or do not come to a suitable arrangement, then a Sheriff Officer or Messenger-at-Arms may be instructed to serve – an earnings arrestment, third party arrestment or a bank arrestment.
In addition to these modes of diligence, the Sheriff Officer or Messenger-at-Arms may, where instructed, employ recovery methods including Attachment, Exceptional Attachment and Inhibition.
What are Walker Love’s jurisdictions?
- Service of citation and execution of Scottish civil court orders
- Service of Scottish actions in other parts of the UK through our network of agents.
- Service of English and foreign actions within Scotland
What other functions can officers of the court perform?
They assist business, public sector organisations and private individuals to repossess goods, property, equipment and heritable property. They may also be asked to intervene in acrimonious disputes and in some cases are called upon to locate and return children where a custody order has been breached.
How much do Sheriff Officers charge?
Fees charged by Sheriff Officers or Messenger-at-Arms are regulated by procedural rules from the Scottish Parliament. It is forbidden for Officers of the Court to discount their fees to attract business.