Where the debt does not exceed £ioo the simplest procedure for its recovery is that of the county court, but if the debt exceeds £ioo the creditor must proceed in the high court, unless the cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction of certain inferior courts, such as the mayor's court of London, the Liverpool court of passage, &c. When judgment has been obtained it may be enforced either by process (under certain conditions) against the person of the debtor, by an execution against the debtor's property, or, with the assistance of the court, by attaching any debt owed to the debtor by a third person.
Distraint on a debtor's corn was forbidden by the Code; not only must the creditor give it back, but his illegal action forfeited his claim altogether.
A curious extension of the talio is the death of creditor's son for his father's having caused the death of debtor's son as mancipium; of builder's son for his father's causing the death of house-owner's son by building the house badly; the death of a man's daughter because her father caused the death of another man's daughter.
The War of Independence left the state heavily burdened with debt and many of its citizens threatened with a debtor's prison.
Originally in Scotland imprisonment for debt was enforceable only in certain cases, but a custom gradually grew up of taking the debtor's oath to pay.
An act of 1851 forbade servants from leaving masters to whom they were indebted, and in 1853 sheriffs were authorized in some instances to dispose of the debtor's labour to the highest bidder.
An insolvent debtor's homestead - consisting of not more than 40 acres of land with a house thereon, or a house and lot in a city or village not exceeding $1500 in value, together with not less than $500 of his personal property - is exempt from execution.