Diligence on the dependence is a provisional or protective measure which is used whilst a court action is ongoing, or just before an action is raised, but has not been finally disposed of. It allows the creditor (pursuer) in the action to take steps to preserve the debtor's (defender’s) property so that it will be available to satisfy any claim eventually upheld by the court.

Undoubtedly the effectiveness of using the courts to uphold the law would be undermined if, during the course of a court action, a party was able to dispose of money or other assets in order to avoid making a payment at the conclusion of those proceedings. Thus, diligence on the dependence is a necessary means of protecting those who are forced to use the courts to recover payments lawfully due to them and preventing disposal of assets in an attempt to defeat their legitimate rights.

Most common diligences used are Arrestment on the Dependence and Inhibition on the Dependence.