Who can represent me?
- Legal Representative
A legal representative is an advocate, a solicitor, a trainee solicitor or a person otherwise entitled to conduct proceedings in the sheriff court.
Legal aid is not available for simple claim cases (except for an appeal).
If you need legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors in your area. See the Law Society of Scotland website for further information.
- Lay Representative
If you are an individual, you do not need to employ a solicitor at any stage of a simple case. If you do, however, you will be liable for payment of solicitor’s fees.
You can authorise someone else to represent you, known as a ‘lay representative’. A lay representative is not a legal representative. A lay representative may do anything involved with the preparation or conduct of a case that a party can do.
Your lay representative must fill in a Lay Representation Form (Form 2A). If you want the lay representative to represent you throughout the case then you must send the completed form to the court along with your claim form or response form. If you want the lay representative to represent you only at specific discussions or hearings then the form should be completed by your representative and handed to the clerk of court at that discussion or hearing.
When the sheriff is considering suitability of your lay representative, they may take into account any interest that person has in the case and may at any time order your lay representative to stop acting if they consider that person unsuitable. A person is unsuitable to act as a lay representative if their behaviour does not respect the principles of simple procedure.
It is a condition, that the lay representative cannot receive any payment from you for their assistance, either directly or indirectly.
- Courtroom Supporter
You may wish instead to be supported in court by, either,
- A friend
- A relative
- A colleague.
Although they won’t be able to speak on your behalf, a courtroom supporter may:
- Sit beside or behind you in court
- Provide you with moral support
- Help you to manage your court documents and other papers
- Take notes for you in court
- Can quietly advise you on:
- Points of law and procedure
- Issues which you may wish to raise with the sheriff
- Questions which you may wish to ask witnesses
The supporter does not need to be legally qualified.
You can ask the sheriff to permit the courtroom supporter to assist you at any time during the proceedings, once the case has called in court. The sheriff may permit a person to be a courtroom supporter only if that person agrees not to receive any payment from you, either directly or indirectly, for their assistance. Also if their behaviour does not respect the principles or simple procedure or they are in any way unsuitable, the sheriff may refuse them permission to act as a courtroom supporter.
Part 1 of the simple procedure rules provides an overview of simple procedure.
Part 2 of the simple procedure rules explains who may represent you, and what they may and may not do.
Where do I go for advice?
You may receive free advice and assistance from any of the following: