For most unsecured debts, a creditor has six years to chase payment. This comes under the Limitation Act of 1980, and the date starts from the payment or acknowledgement of the debt. This is when confusion can occur as to what counts as acknowledgement.
In Scotland it works slightly different and creditors can’t chase for payment after five years unless the court has issued a Decree.
The Limitation Act doesn’t apply with debts owed to the ‘Crown’, such as income tax. There are also ways around the Limitations Act for debts such as council tax and benefits over-payment, therefore these can sometimes be chased even after the six years has passed.
Creditors, such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can legally take money from your benefits or wages without going to court, even after the limits set in the Limitation Act has passed.