What are Simple Procedure Actions?
Simple Procedure Actions at Sheriff Courts are a relatively new addition to the Scottish legal system. These actions were created on 28 November 2016 with a view of being “speedy”, “inexpensive”, and “informal”. They replaced small claims and some summary cause actions at Sheriff Courts.
The Simple Procedure Rules are found within Schedule 1 of the Act of Sederunt (Simple Procedure) 2016. These are akin to a rule book for a board game – permitted ‘moves’ allow the action to move to an outcome. There are strict timescales which drive actions forward. There are around 50 forms and applications which can be utilised during the lifespan of an action, and the rules run to 21 ‘parts’, each of which deals with distinct aspects of procedure. If the rules are followed, the outcome can be speedy. If the forms are known, the process can be simple.
What Can You Recover and Where?
If your claim is worth £5,000 or less then you can use this procedure at the correct Sheriff Court. It is pivotal to register your action at a court which holds jurisdiction over the dispute.
Once registered, you can raise three types of actions:
- Action for a Monetary Payment
- Action for an Implement of an Obligation
- Action for a Delivery or Recovery of Moveable Property
The first type of action allows a claimant to ask the court to order a party to pay a monetary debt. For example, when someone has failed to pay back a loan or a business debt on time.
The second type of action allows a claimant to ask the court to order a party to do ‘something specific’, to perform as promised. An action for an implement of an obligation is most commonly used in a contractual setting. For example, when a tradesperson has not done what they agreed to do.
The third type of action allows a claimant to ask the court to order a party to deliver or return something to you, as long as this item is a physical thing (i.e. can be moved from one location to another). For example, where someone has borrowed a vehicle but they refuse to return it, you may use this action to seek delivery or recovery.
The expenses of an action are awarded at the discretion of the Sheriff. Therefore, you cannot be guaranteed to recover any or all expenses that have been incurred.
Simple Procedure promotes access to justice, permitting self-representation before the court. It is important, however, to recognise, as was stated in the case of Cabot Financial UK Limited –v- Robert McGregor & Ords, that all usual principles of law are applicable. In any application it is essential that the rules and Scots law are followed accordingly.
Our Dispute Resolution department has extensive Simple Procedure knowledge and experience, successfully assisting a large volume of clients achieve successful outcomes. Unlike other types of actions, the Simple Procedure rules allow Trainee Solicitors to advocate for claimants before the court which makes representation affordable to clients where it would otherwise not be.