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At a glance: How to reverse a court ruling about a debt you owe.
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This summary is not relevant in England and Wales
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What is a court decree?

If you cannot agree with a creditor to pay back what you owe, they may make a claim through the sheriff court to get a decree against you. A decree is a court decision which confirms what you owe. It may also tell you how the debt should be repaid. 

Having a decree recalled

Court action for debts up to £5,000 are called simple procedure actions. You may be able to have a simple procedure decree recalled or reversed. Recalled means the case proceeds as if no decree had ever been granted.   

A recall is only possible in certain circumstances: 

  • You did not return the Response Form in time. 
  • You did not attend and were not represented at the hearing. 

There are also time limits for how long you have to apply.  

Why might I want to apply for a recall?

 You might want to recall a decree if you want to pay off an old debt. This may improves your ability to get credit. If you make an application to recall the decree for this reason alone, the court will not agree to your application. However, if you show a valid ground applies and the court does agree to recall the decree, you can request that the information on your credit reference file is corrected.  

You might want to recall the decree because you dispute the case. To do this you usually need help from a legal aid solicitor or an advice agency. 

How do I recall a decree?

You need to complete Form 13B Application to Recall and send it to the court. 

In the application, you should explain why you did not originally respond or why you did not attend the hearing. You should state what your defence (if any) to the action will be.  

Your creditor has 10 days to make objections to your application. Once this time has passed the sheriff will consider your application.  

If you lose the case after it has been re-opened, the court may order you to pay further costs and expenses. Get advice before applying.  

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

Read in-depth-guide

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