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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary warrant: General attachments: How the sheriff officer attaches articles


On instructions from you to enforce the summary warrant by way of an attachment the sheriff officer will

  • call to the place at which the article(s) to be attached is/are situated
  • take a witness
  • show to every person present the summary warrant
  • demand payment and if not paid
  • confirm ownership of the article(s) (whether the defender owns the article(s) solely or in common with another person or person(s)).

Note: Whilst a sheriff officer can open “shut and lockfast” premises for the purposes of executing an attachment, because of the adverse publicity this may generate, you should not allow him to do so without you first referring the case to Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office for advice.

Once satisfied that it is in order the sheriff officer will attach the articles by valuing the article(s) at the price they are likely to fetch if sold on the open market.

Valuation by sheriff officer

Schedule of attachment

As soon as the sheriff officer has completed his valuation of the attached goods he must prepare a schedule of the articles attached. Both the sheriff officer and his witness should sign the schedule and a copy of the signed schedule must be handed either to the person in possession of the attached articles or left at the premises.

At the same time the sheriff officer will also advise the defender (debtor) of his right to redeem the article(s).

Professional valuation

Where the article is such that the sheriff officer considers that the valuation must be done by a professional valuer, he will arrange for this to be done.

Appeals against valuation

Where the sheriff considers that the valuation done by either the sheriff officer or the professional valuer is substantially below the price which the goods would be likely to fetch if sold on the open market he can, on or before the day immediately preceding the auction date, order that the attachment is to cease to have effect.

Likewise if the debtor feels that the valuation given is substantially below the price the goods would be likely to fetch on the open market he too can apply to the sheriff on a (court) form 04 for consideration by him of making such an order.

In both cases the sheriff will not make any order until he has firstly given both the debtor and the creditor (pursuer) an opportunity to make representations and to have these representations heard in court should any party wish this to be done.