HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary warrant: Exceptional attachments: What is an exceptional attachment

You should check the other guidance available on GOV.UK from HMRC as Brexit updates to those pages are being prioritised before manuals.

Definition of the term “exceptional attachment”

An exceptional attachment is an attachment of non-essential assets of the defender kept in any dwelling house. Where, following an application by the creditor, the sheriff is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances, he may order that an exceptional attachment can take place.

Top of page

Definition of the term “exceptional circumstances”

“Exceptional circumstances” means that the sheriff is satisfied that you have

  • taken reasonable steps to negotiate or seek to negotiate settlement of the debt and that you have
  • attempted to secure payment of the debt by executing an arrestment and an action of furthcoming, or sale, or an earnings arrestment.

He must also be satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect that the sum recovered at auction would be at least the estimated chargeable expenses plus £100.

Top of page

What the exceptional order authorises

The exceptional attachment order

  • gives authority to attach, remove and auction non-essential assets of the defender kept in any dwelling house specified in the application for the order
  • specifies a period during which the order is to be executed and
  • empowers the sheriff officer to open “shut and lockfast” places for the purpose of executing the order.

Note: Because of the adverse publicity that this action may generate however you should not allow the sheriff officer to take this action without you first referring the case to Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office for advice.

Top of page

Referral to Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office

Where an exceptional attachment order is considered to be the most appropriate method of recovery for a case you must submit your papers to Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office for approval. Your submission must include details of why you consider that this course of action would be the most effective for that case.