Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Courts and legal action

This section covers the structure of the legal system in Scotland and the different types of action that a landlord can take to repossess a property.

A guide to using case law

We are currently reviewing and improving our coverage of case law on Shelter Legal. In the mean time, this page contains some vital tips on what case law is and how to use and apply it more effectively in practical situations. 

Introduction to legal action

This section looks at the origins of the Scottish legal system and the current court structure. It outlines which courts hear which cases, what type of judge presides over them and who can represent the parties. 

Before court action

This section outlines making a claim to the courts, which should only be done as a last resort. 

Going to court

This section looks at court procedures and practice when representing a client in court. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Sometimes legal action is not always the most effective way of resolving a housing problem, this page looks at what alternative solutions are available. 

Simple Procedure

The small claim action has recently changed and is now known as the Simple Procedure. Pages are being updated. See links to Scottish Courts website. 

Summary cause actions

There are a number of different factors to be considered in relation to summary cause court procedure. 

Minute for recall

Normally, when the court has decided a claim, that decision is final, unless an appeal is made. However, in certain circumstances it is possible to apply to the court to have the decree recalled. If a decree is recalled, the case proceeds as if no decree had ever been granted. 

Ordinary cause actions

Lay representation is not allowed in ordinary actions. Private individuals can represent themselves but this would be a difficult process as there are no standard forms (each action being raised by a writ) and the procedure can seem confusing. 

Reponing note or minute for recall - mortgage arrears

If decree in absence has been granted against your client then it may be possible to have the case re-opened by submitting a reponing note to the court. Your client will need a solicitor for this but there are some important points for advisers to remember. It can also be useful to have an understanding of the legal procedure involved. 

First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber

The First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber is part of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. They are able to make decisions and take enforcement action on the following areas of housing law 

Judicial Review

Judicial review is the means by which the courts supervise public bodies. It is not an appeal against a decision itself but a challenge to the way in which the decision was made.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives people the right to access information held by Scottish public authorities. 

Legal Aid

Legal aid is complicated but can have a significant impact on access to justice. Recent regulations introduced significant changes to the financial limits on eligibility for civil legal aid. It is useful for advisers to be aware of these changes and the impact they will have on many clients. This page explains the main changes as well as introducing the basic structure of the legal aid system in Scotland. 

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney can be granted in relation to property and financial affairs as well as in relation to welfare matters. In certain circumstances it may be appropriate for clients to consider granted a Power of Attorney. This page explains more and contemplates the circumstances in which clients may find this to be a useful tool. 

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 29 December 2014