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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary warrant: Which debts can and cannot be arrested

Debts that are arrestable

Not all debts are arrestable. Examples of arrestable sources you are most likely toencounter are

  • sums in account with commercial banks, building societies and the National Savings Bank
  • rent due to the defender by a tenant
  • life assurance policies in the hands of an insurance company
  • fees or commissions for work done (or to be done) under a contract for services
  • salaries or wages when due
  • a debt owing to any partner where you hold a decree against all partners (ceased partnership cases)
  • earnings of a merchant seaman (but not by way of an earnings arrestment)
  • company shares held by an individual provided that the arrested shares are in respect of a company that is registered in Scotland.

If you are not sure whether sums owing to a defender are arrestable but consider thatarrestment could be worthwhile you should refer the papers to the higher debt manager foradvice.

Debts that are not arrestable

Examples of non-arrestable sources you are most likely to encounter are

  • sums due to a partnership or limited company for a debt owed by an individual partner or member
  • pay of serving member of Armed Forces (but see DMBM676510)
  • most state pensions and benefits
  • any occupational pension scheme payable under any enactment which precludes the assignation of the pension or exempts it from diligence. (You can however arrest any account into which it is paid.)