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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause: Taking an inhibition in execution

Once you have obtained decree and where you know that a defaulter owns heritable property and you wish to place an inhibition in execution on him you should ask HMRC Solicitors Office to apply to the Court of Session for a warrant to inhibit.

Action by HMRC Solicitors Office

The solicitor will prepare the application (letters of inhibition) outlining the grounds on which the inhibition is being sought and then send the application to the Court of Session. Then if the court is satisfied that the application is in order they will grant warrant to inhibit the defender. This they will do by signing the document (letters of inhibition) and entering the court seal on it. HMRC Solicitors Office will then return the application (letters of inhibition) and warrant of inhibition to you to enable you to arrange for service of this on the defender.

Action by Debt Management Office

Once you have received the letters and warrant of inhibition back from HMRC Solicitors Office you must then arrange for service of these to be made on the defender.

Who must effect service

Service must be made by a messenger-at-arms. Most sheriff officers will also be messengers-at-arms but firstly you must check the position for the sheriff officer you intend to use to serve these documents. If there is no resident messenger-at-arms for this firm or alternatively service has to be made to one of the islands, the warrant of inhibition may be served by a sheriff officer who holds a commission for that relevant sheriff court district.

Sending the warrant to inhibit to the messenger-at-arms/sheriff officer for service

Once the “messenger-at-arms/sheriff officer position” has been established you should send the signed warrant of inhibition to them to effect service, informing them of the address(es) at which you wish them to effect service for you. (For service on a company you should supply the registered office address but if that is outwith Scotland you should supply the business address to enable service to be affected.)

How the messenger-at-arms/sheriff officer effects service

Usually the messenger-at-arms/sheriff officer will serve

  • a copy of the warrant of inhibition and
  • a schedule of inhibition
  • personally on the defender.
  • The messenger-at-arms/sheriff officer will then return these documents to you along with a certificate of execution of service.


This certificate is essential because you will need this to enable you to register the inhibition with the Keeper of the Register of Inhibitions.