(95)  Human rights and summary warrant procedure

It was reported in The Scotsman (24 Jan 2001) that Sheriff Brian Murphy, sitting at Jedburgh, has granted an interim interdict to David and Jean Warwick ordering H M Love & Co, sheriff officers, not to execute a summary warrant against the couple in respect of a £900 bill for business rates claimed by Scottish Borders Council.  The Warwicks argue that under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights they are entitled to a full court hearing before the diligence can be performed.  Under local government legislation, local authorities may apply to a sheriff certifying that rates remain unpaid after a demand for payment has been made,and the sheriff may then grant a summary warrant authorising recovery of the amount due by a poinding and sale, an arrestment and forthcoming or an earnings arrestment.  In a poinding under this procedure, no charge is necessary, there is no report back to the sheriff on the poinding and sale and there is no need to apply to the sheriff for a warrant of sale (see Wilson on Debt, para 19.7).