Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Covid-19 Guidance for members
Update – 20th April 2022

The Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers has issued this updated set of guidelines.

Guidance issued by SMASO is given to assist officers of court in striking a balance, to maintain public safety during the pandemic, and to continue to provide lawful services to the public, so that court documents are served on time, and civil decrees, decisions or orders are given effect.

As members will be aware, in October 2020 the Scottish Government introduced Scotland’s Strategic Framework, which replaced the previous phases in Scotland’s Route map with a tier system. Scotland has now moved out of the protection levels system. For up-to-date information see the Scottish Government’s main covid landing page

Officers of court should at this time be carrying out their official functions without restrictions, whilst continuing to pay close attention to general public health guidance.

Members should, for their own protection, their colleagues’, employees’ and members of the general public, continue to follow all general government guidance around working safely. The following is an extract from the Scottish Government Guidance How to keep ourselves and each other safe from coronavirus (COVID-19).

From 18 April 2022 thanks to the efforts of everyone in Scotland, and the success of the vaccination programme, we have now reached a stage where all the legal restrictions relating to COVID-19 protective measures at a national level in Scotland have been lifted.

However, COVID-19 has not gone away, and it remains important that we continue to take sensible precautions to keep ourselves and each other safe.  The best thing everyone can do is to get your vaccination and boosters, and, where they are prescribed, the new anti- viral treatments help protect us all from serious illness. 

As with other aspects of life we need to take a proportionate, risk-based approach to reduce the likelihood of getting or transmitting the virus.  This guidance sets out some of the things you should consider when thinking about the risk that COVID-19 might present in any given situation, as well as the steps you might take to reduce that risk to you and others. 

COVID-19, like other respiratory infections, spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings or even breathes, and droplets and particles from their mouth or nose containing live virus are released into the air.

Transmission is far more likely to happen indoor than outdoor and most likely to happen where people are close to each other (usually within 2 metres).

There are things we can all do to reduce the risk of transmission.

Assessing Risk

Face Coverings

This guidance is given to all members of the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers, and therefore is relevant to all officers of court in Scotland. The Society has no powers to compel adherence to the guidance and relies on members to use their professional judgement. It is recognised that the execution of diligence or other court orders may involve some situations which go beyond the scope of this guidance. It is the Society’s policy to review its guidance regularly and to make it public on this website.


Information on help dealing with creditors can be found in The Debt Advice and Information Package (DAIP). This is a booklet published  by The Accountant in Bankruptcy,  providing important information for debtors to help them deal with their creditors.