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Acts of Court - Overview

What is an Act of Court?
An Act of Court is an official record of the decision or judgment of the Court (Royal or Magistrate's Court) and is produced in a number of different formats on conclusion of a Court hearing. The document usually contains the following information:

  • The Plaintiff's details

  • The Defendant's details

  • Date of Court hearing

  • Brief outline of the case

  • Judgment awarded

It is the Act of Court that gives H.M. Sheriff the authority to commence enforcement action on behalf of a Plaintiff, should they so wish.

When submitting a request for enforcement only the original Acts of Court will be accepted by H.M. Sheriff. The original Act of Court will be returned to the Plaintiff with a final report on completion of investigations.

Is there a period of time in which an Act of Court must be rendered for enforcement?
Acts of Court should be rendered for enforcement within a set period of time, called the prescription period. The time limits are generally as follows:

  • Judgment by consent or following a contested hearing - 6 years

  • Judgment by default - 3 years

If the Act of Court is passed to H.M. Sheriff for enforcement outside the prescription period then H.M. Sheriff is unable to act and the Plaintiff will need to obtain a renewed judgment.

Re-payment of a Judgment Debt
The Plaintiff can seek repayment of the Judgment Debt from the Defendant themselves, or through the Office of H.M. Sheriff.
Should the Plaintiff wish to seek repayment of the Judgment Debt from the Defendant without involving H.M. Sheriff's Office, they can do so without any need to inform the Royal Court.

Should the Plaintiff not wish to seek repayment themselves, or attempts to and the Defendant isn't willing to settle the Judgment Debt when approached, or payment isn't received in full from the Defendant, then the Plaintiff still has the option to bring the Act of Court in to the Office of H.M. Sheriff to have the Judgment Debt enforced within the prescribed period.