The law does not exist to benefit law firms.At BBM Solicitors, our clients always come first.

At BBM we exist solely for the benefit of our clients. We succeed when we make our clients happy - And we do that by building a close relationship; by managing their legal risks and resolving their legal headaches.

Debt Recovery - Recovering Debt in Scotland

debt recovery lawyers aberdeen inverness scotlandThe prospect of pursuing commercial debt can be a trying experience for creditors: instituting legal proceedings can carry significant costs and be time consuming. Get immediate legal advice today: fill in our online enquiry form or call us: Edinburgh 0131 5263280; Wick 01955 604188.

No creditor would wish to dedicate important resources to recovering debt where this can be avoided. It is important that where money that you are owed has not been paid, you have the assistance of specialist solicitors that can pursue this for you as a matter of urgency. Sometimes taking quick action will make the difference in whether you can recover the debt successful.

Recovering Commercial Debt in Scotland

At BBM Solicitors, our commercial team understand the realities of being forced to recover commercial debt, regularly working with businesses to put contracts and systems in place that mitigate the risk of bad debts. However, we also appreciate that instances do arise where the repayment of debt is withheld or simply cannot be paid, requiring more formal action. Our team offer an expert service, navigating our clients through the legal processes necessary to recover the commercial debt they are due.

Recovering Due Debts: Engage with the debtor

It is advisable that when debts fall due, a creditor should contact the person or organisation in question, making them aware of the situation. It is important to enter some kind of dialogue with a debtor: outstanding debt may be due to absentmindedness on their part, and a gentle reminder may be sufficient to result in payment. However, it may be possible that they are refusing, or lack the resources, to make payment on the debt.

It is important that when contacting a debtor, a creditor makes them aware of the consequences of failing to repay their debt:

  • Where the contract allows it, or where the customer is a business covered by the late payment of commercial debts legislation, interest may be applied to the amount they owe. In the case of commercial debts, interest of 8% may be applied, plus the Bank of England base rate for business to business transactions of 0.5%.
  • It is vital that creditors give debtors fair warning of the likelihood of legal action being taken against them if they fail to make payment within a reasonable period, e.g. 7 days.

At BBM Solicitors, we regularly engage with debtors on their creditors' behalf. It is our experiences that getting in contact with a debtor, and informing them of the consequences of their actions, will normally yield results for creditors.

Taking formal legal action to recover debt

If a debtor fails to make payment on an outstanding debt, and has been given notice of the consequences of their actions, a creditor may then move to raise formal legal proceedings against them.

Pursuing Insolvency Options

Regardless as to whether a debtor is a corporate body or an individual, it is possible for creditors to take advantage of the insolvency regime to recoup the debt. The rules, however, are slightly different for each kind of debtor:

  • Where a debtor is a limited company and the debt is undisputed, often the best method of forcing payment is a 72 hour winding up demand, which requires the satisfaction of their debt within the time frame. This involves Sheriff Officers serving a demand notice we have drafted, calling for payment of the debt. Where payment is not forthcoming (and not disputed), a creditor may then seek the court's permission to place the company into liquidation, and to appoint a liquidator. Such a demand tends to prompt a response!
  • Where a debtor is an individual with some interest in property, it is possible to place them into bankruptcy to secure outstanding debt. This is known as 'sequestration'. However, there are limitations on what can be done with a debtor's home, particularly when their family lives with them.

Proceeding with Diligence

Assuming that a debtor has not positively responded to, or defended against, a creditor's attempts to recover commercial debt, and that the insolvency regime would not be useful, a creditor may ask the court to issue an order (known in Scotland as a decree) recognising that the debt is due. This entitles creditors to pursue a range of enforcement mechanisms to recover the outstanding debt described as 'diligence'.

Depending on the value of an outstanding debt, a request for a court to grant decree should be raised in one of two places. The Sheriff Court will handle most legal disputes concerning debt recovery, while legal action concerning debts of a high value, e.g. above £100,000 that are very complex, should be brought before the Court of Session. The value of the debt will also determine the court procedure and time frames that need to be observed.

There are a variety of options available to creditors pursuing diligence against a debtor. The usefulness of these measures will depend on the circumstances in question. The options available are as follows

Earnings Arrestment

This is an order from the courts that instructs a debtor's employer to deduct the money owed to creditors directly from their monthly salary. However, there is a limit on the amount that can be taken from a debtor's salary, depending on how much they earn.


It is open to creditors to prevent debtors from accessing money that they have in their bank accounts, although certain minimum amounts may be left. This measure will involve paperwork being completed by debtors, stipulating that money be deducted from their account and paid to creditors, via the courts, in satisfaction of the outstanding debt.


Where a debtor has no savings or is unemployed, but does own property, a creditor may prevent them from selling it. This secures the value of the property for the creditors for a period of up to five years.


A creditor, who has no other means of recovering outstanding debt, may seek the permission of the court to force a sale of the debtor's moveable property. This involves Sheriff Officers creating an inventory of property capable of being sold, e.g. non-essential items owned by the debtor such as a car, that can be seized and sold at auction to repay the outstanding debt. Attachment does not include property within a debtor's home. This will only be capable of seizure where an 'Exceptional Attachment order' has been granted by the courts.

At BBM Solicitors we have a long, successful history of working with businesses to secure the payment of debts. Our team provides advice and assistance that reflects our client's needs, offering effective solutions to legal problems. We can handle every aspect of your case, including contacting debtors, raising court actions, and representing your interests when required. If you need assistance in recovering commercial debt, please contact our commercial team at BBM Solicitors.

Debt Recovery Solicitors Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen & Highlands in Scotland

For more advice on recovering a debt in Scotland, fill in our online enquiry form or call us: Edinburgh 0131 5263280 Wick 01955 604188.

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We have now moved to the next phase of our business continuity plan. Our offices have now closed for the foreseeable future and our Solicitors are working remotely from home. We continue to work hard for clients- just not in the office! We are praying that clients and contacts will be kept safe. We look forward to meeting face to face again in months to come all being well. Any new enquiries to your usual BBM contact or to