It is the responsibility of the successful party to enforce the court’s decision. The court cannot do this on their behalf. The successful party will also be responsible for the cost of any enforcement action, although they may be able to recover this from the other party.
What do I do with the decision form when I receive it?
After the decision form is sent to you by the sheriff clerk, you must wait four weeks before enforcing the decision. If an appeal is lodged within the four week time period, you cannot enforce the decision. Please see ‘Recall of the Decision and Appeals’ for further information regarding appeals.
If you have been sent an Application for Recall (Form13B) you must not enforce the decision until the sheriff has made a decision on the application. If the application to recall is granted you cannot then enforce the decision which has been recalled. You may be asked by the sheriff clerk to return any paperwork you received with the decision form.
How do I enforce a decision?
Before enforcing a decision for a sum of money, a Charge to Pay (Form 15A) must be served on the other party by a sheriff officer. The purpose of the charge to pay is to give the other party one last chance to pay the sum of money ordered by the court.
The charge to pay must demand payment:
- Within two weeks if the other party is in the United Kingdom
- Within four weeks of the other party is outside the United Kingdom
- Within four weeks if the address of the other party is unknown.
If the sum of money is still not paid after the time limit has expired, you can then instruct a sheriff officer to enforce the decision.
What happens when the address of the other party is unknown?
If the other party’s address is unknown, you must take all reasonable steps to find out the address. If you are unable to ascertain the current address of the other party, you must instruct a sheriff officer to formally serve the charge to pay on the sheriff clerk in the sheriff court district where the other party’s last known address was.
The sheriff clerk will then advertise the charge to pay on the Scottish Court and Tribunals website (www.scotcourts.gov.uk) for a period of four weeks. After the four week period the sheriff clerk will certify that advertisement took place and return the charge to pay to the sheriff officer. You may then instruct the sheriff officer to enforce the decision.
What if the respondent does not comply with a decision that orders the respondent to deliver or do something for you?
If you have obtained a decision against the respondent which:
- Orders the respondent to deliver something to you, or
- Orders the respondent to do something for you
and the respondent has not done as ordered in the decision, you can send an Alternative Decision Application (Form 15B) to the court. The application can only be made where the sheriff alternatively ordered the respondent to pay you a sum of money.
After considering your application, the sheriff may do one of three things:
- Grant your application and order the respondent to pay you a sum of money
- Refuse your application
- Order you to appear at a discussion in court, where the sheriff will consider whether to make any orders.
For assistance in finding a sheriff officer near you and for further information regarding enforcement of your decision, please see – Society of Messenger-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers website.
Part 15 of the simple rules explains how to enforce a decision.