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Tackling your debts

Why a Court Decree is not the end of the line for your finances

Posted 06 May 2014

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It can be incredibly stressful receiving a Court Decree for your debts, but it’s not the end of the road for your finances.

 

If you’ve ever received a Court Decree as a result of defaulting on your debt repayments, you’ll know just how stressful and worrying it can be. However, rather than bury your head in the sand and try and ignore it, you’ll find help and support is available if you want to get your finances under control.

You should also remember you’re not alone.

Unwanted mail

In the last five years, nearly one in 10 people in Scotland have had a Court Decree granted against them*. This is equivalent to 425,000 individuals.

Of those who have received a decree, 10% have debts listed in them that total just £250. In contrast, 1 in 5 owe £5,000 or more – and 15% of these Scots have over £10,000 worth of debt listed in their decree.

What does this mean?

The first summons you receive from the sheriff court will detail how much money you owe and ask you to return some forms. The court will then decide how the debt should be repaid (for instance, all at once or through set instalments every month for a particular period, which may be longer than you originally agreed with your creditor) and issue your decree.

Not following these instructions and repaying the debt according to the guidelines could mean your lender starts diligence against you to recover what they’re owed. Once the decree has been issued, it will remain on your credit file for six years, which will make it extremely difficult for you to access credit like a new loan or credit card during this time.

What to do if you get a decree

The most important thing to do if you receive a Court Decree is to follow the instructions given by the court so that the situation doesn’t get worse. However, it’s also important not to lose hope in ever sorting out your finances.

Many of the clients we work with have received Court Decrees. We provide them with help and support, along with advising them on the different debt solutions available. If they choose one of these solutions, for which fees may be payable, we guide them through the process and provide support at every step of the way.

If you have debts you’re worried about – whether or not you’ve received a Court Decree – don’t put it off any longer and get the help you need.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 4th April and 9th April 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents.Figures have been extrapolated to fit June 2012 Scottish government population projections of 5,313,600.

 

by Sarah Symons

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.