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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause: What is arrestment

Where a third party owes the defender money you can instruct the sheriff officer to lodge an arrestment in the hands of that third party (the arrestee). This prevents the arrestee from releasing these funds to the defender, or in the case of an earnings arrestment, requires the defender’s employer to

  • make deductions from the defender’s net earnings and
  • send the sums deducted to you.

Many debts owing to the defender can be “attached” in this way but in practice you will mainly use arrestment to obtain money from a defender’s earnings or money held in a bank/building society account.