Debt cases drop by nearly half over past five years
July 2015

The number of debt cases being considered by Scottish courts has fallen for the fifth year in a row. There were 35,400 debt cases raised in 2013-14, a drop of 46 per cent since 2008-09. The latest civil justice statistics, show the total number of civil law cases initiated in Scottish courts is at its lowest in the past five years.

There were 77,300 civil law cases raised in Scotland in the financial year 2013-14, a decrease of 41 per cent since 2008-09, largely because the number of debt cases have nearly halved since then. There were 35,400 debt cases raised in 2013-14, a similar number to 2012-13 but 46 per cent lower than the 65,800 cases raised in 2008-09.

Changes in types of borrowing, settlements out of court and perceived lower chances of recovering money are among the possible causes for the drop in cases brought to court.

Despite the decline in debt cases, they still make up nearly half civil law cases in courts, followed by family disputes, eviction cases and personal injury claims.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows that nearly one in four adults has experienced at least one civil law problem in the last three years. The most common type of issue is disputes with neighbours, followed by problems with faulty goods and services, and then money and debt. The number of damages cases raised in court fell for the fourth year running, to 3,200 for 2013-14.

Court action remains an effective option for recovery of debt. Many creditors may be put off by perceived issues around complexity of the court process and potential costs. AMA can instruct solicitors on your behalf and offer advice on the most cost effective way of pursuing court action or whether court action is even worthwhile.