Summary warrants, time to pay and charge to pay
The summary warrant procedure is a quick means for certain public creditors to pursue the amounts they are owed. Used mainly by local authorities and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, this process involves an application to court in respect of debts due by several different debtors. No hearing is held.
Time to pay is a procedure where debtors can formally apply to pay certain debts in stages. Until commencement of Part 12 of the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. (Scotland) Act 2007, the ability to apply for time to pay was specifically excluded in respect of debts due to local authorities and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
A charge for payment is a formal notice served upon debtors demanding payment of money owed. A period of 14 days following service must pass without payment before a creditor can execute most diligences. In some cases 28 days may apply, if the person lives outside the United Kingdom or their whereabouts are unknown. The individual charge for payment will determine the appropriate period and therefore execution timescale.
Until commencement of Part 12 of the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. (Scotland) Act 2007 public creditors were not required to serve a charge for payment prior to executing diligence following a summary warrant.
Changes as a result of commencement of Part 12 on 1 April 2008 include:
- Applications for formal time to pay are competent in respect of debts due to local authorities. (Debtors are still unable to apply for time to pay in respect of debts due to HMRC).
- Creditors using the summary warrant process must serve a charge for payment prior to executing all diligences. (Note - If a public creditor chooses to pursue debt by decree as opposed to summary warrant they do not require a charge for payment prior to enforcement by arrestment).