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Enforcement of the decision

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Applies from 28th November 2016


Guidance on this page should be read in conjunction with the appropriate Simple Procedure Rules depending on the date your claim was initiated.  New rules apply to claims initiated on or after 31 May 2023. 

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.


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.


If the court has made a decision to allow payment of a sum of money by instalments or within a specific time period, you must send a copy of the decision form to the other party. This is important, because the decision for payment cannot be enforced until the other party has received a copy of it. You should do this as quickly as possible by recorded delivery post. You will need to show proof of sending the decision in case the other party does not make payment and you then want to enforce the decision.

Before enforcing a decision for a sum of money, a charge must be served on the other party by a sheriff officer. The purpose of the charge is to give the other party one last chance to pay the sum of money ordered by the court.

The charge 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.

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 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 on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals website 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 the sheriff officer. You may then instruct the sheriff officer to enforce the decision.

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.

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Please note: The information above cannot cover every situation which might arise in the course of a claim. You should also note that this information is not the authority upon which the procedure is based. The formal authority is contained in the Simple Procedure Rules.