Simple procedure actions

In Scotland, the simple procedure process is the way to deal with simple civil cases where the claim does not exceed £5000.

What is the simple procedure?

The simple procedure has replaced small claims actions and is meant to be a simplified and inexpensive way to settle claims up to £5000. You do not need a solicitor unless your case is more complicated, as you can represent yourself or ask someone else to represent you.

What can I use the simple procedure for?

Some examples of problems that could be dealt with by the simple procedure:

  • Your title deeds say that you and your neighbour have a joint responsibility for the boundary between your houses but your neighbour refuses to pay towards the upkeep of your joint fence.

  • You live in a block of flats and you are all responsible for repairs to windows in the stairwell. Your neighbours refuse to pay their share. You've had to pay the full amount to get the work done and you want your neighbours to contribute.

  • A contractor/builder hasn't completed some work that you have paid for.

The Scottish courts website has more information on how to make a simple procedure claim.

Responding to a simple procedure claim

If you do receive a summons because someone has started a simple procedure claim against you, you must respond so that you get your say. You have several options, including:

  • avoiding going to court by admitting you owe the other person money

  • challenging the location of the court case

  • requesting time to pay if you admit you owe the money

  • defending yourself

  • launching a counterclaim, a separate case dealt with at the same time as where you claim the other person owes you money too.

How to respond to a simple procedure claim - from the Scottish Courts website. Get advice as soon as possible to help you decide the best option - you could speak to Citizens Advice Bureau, a law centre or the Clerk at a sheriff court.

Costs and solicitors

You do not necessarily need a solicitor to represent you. If you represent yourself you will be referred to as the 'party litigant' and if you get someone else to represent you they will be called a 'lay representative'. You can read more about your options (including getting a solicitor) in our section on legal representation.

Legal aid might be available on cases valued over £3000.

The costs to raise or defend a simple procedure claim vary. If either you or the other person uses a solicitor this obviously adds to the cost substantially. You might have to pay court expenses to your opponent if the sheriff decides against you and you lose your case. If the claim in your case was less than £200 no expenses can be awarded. If the claim was between £200 and £1500 limited expenses can be awarded, up to a maximum of £150. If the claim was between £1501 but under £3000 then expenses up to 10% of the claim may be awarded.

Claims between £3001 and £5000 follow the general rule that whoever is successful has their costs paid for by the losing side.

If you go to court

You can also find lots more useful information in this section including what happens if you go to court:

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 21 March 2017

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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