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What is a Bank Arrestment?

One of the diligence methods that Sheriff Officers in Scotland can implement is a Bank Arrestment – or officially known as Actions of Arrestment and Furthcoming – to recover unpaid Council Tax.

It is a two-stage process:

  • Stage 1: Funds are attached
    • This means that your bank has been instructed to freeze your account. This is the arrestment stage
  • Stage 2: This can only occur in two scenarios:
    • When you sign a mandate and authorise your bank to transfer the funds – which can be at any point after arrestment.
    • The second is after 14 weeks of arrestment, providing you have not objected to the finds being transferred, they are so by operation of the law, whether you agree to it or not.

When can this method of diligence be applied?

A bank arrestment can only be applied once a Summary Warrant has been granted. Only Sheriff Officers and Messengers at Arms can implement this method of diligence.

How will I know when a Bank Arrestment has been implemented?

You will receive a Charge for Payment from your Local Authority. This then gives you 14 clear days to pay the arrears off in full, or apply for a Time to Pay Order.

If you do not do any of these things, then your account will be arrested/frozen

How much can be retrieved via a bank arrestment?

Arrested bank accounts can be forced to transfer the total arrears balance, plus costs however, there is a level of protection – in which the sum of £494.01 must be left in your account. This is called the Minimum Protected Balance

When does a Bank Arrestment take effect?

This can only take effect on the day of execution. This is the date upon which your bank is served with the arrestment order. So, if the date of execution is the 1st of April and you have £200.00 in your account, it is only this amount that can lawfully be arrested. Even if, on the 2nd of April, you have £2,000.00 in your account.

Are there any ways to prevent this from happening?

You cannot necessarily prevent it from happening however, you can apply to challenge it.

  1. You can submit a Notice of Objection
  2. You can apply for it to be recalled, or restricted – on the grounds of it being unduly harsh.

You must act quickly if your arrears have reached a Sheriff’s Office – as they can move quickly – so you must be quicker!

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