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Getting help at court

If your landlord takes you to the sheriff court to evict you by asking the court to grant an eviction order, it's very important that someone attends the court hearing and speaks on your behalf. You can do this yourself, or you can ask an adviser or solicitor to represent you. This page looks at how you can find a representative.

Do I have to go to court?

If your landlord is taking you to court to evict you, you may not need to go to court yourself, provided you can find someone else to represent you. If no one goes to court on your behalf, the sheriff is very likely to grant an eviction order, which will end your right to live in your home. However, going to court for eviction is not the same as going to court on a criminal charge - you won't be arrested if you don't show up.

If I go to to court, who can represent me?

You can represent yourself in court or you can choose someone else to represent you. This could be:

  • a friend or relative you have authorised to be there
  • an adviser, support worker or someone else you know and trust
  • a solicitor.

If someone who's not a solicitor is representing you, they'll be called a 'lay representative'.

If you're representing yourself, you'll be called a 'party litigant'.

What is a lay representative?

A lay representative is a person who is not legally qualified but who you've authorised to represent you in court. A lay representative may be from Shelter Scotland, Citizens Advice or other advice agency. It could also be someone you know and trust such as a friend.

How do I find a solicitor?

Ideally, you should be represented in court by a solicitor. If you contact Shelter Scotland or Citizens Advice, they may be able to put you in touch with a solicitor. Alternatively, you may be able to find a solicitor at a law centre, or by using the Law Society of Scotland website. Read our page on solicitors to find out more.

Some courts have in-court advisers on duty to help people on the day that their case is heard. The clerk at the court will know if there is one - so contact your local sheriff court or Citizens Advice Scotland to see what's available in your area.

How much will it cost to get a solicitor?

You'll have to pay for a solicitor to represent you, and you may be entitled to legal aid.

Some solicitors may offer a free first interview - ask at your local Citizens Advice or law centre if there's a solicitor near you who offers this service.

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This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • You can represent yourself in court or you can choose someone else to represent you, such as a solicitor.
  • A lay representative is a person who is not legally qualified but who you've authorised to represent you in court.
  • You'll have to pay for a solicitor to represent you, and you may be entitled to legal aid to help you pay.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us

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