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Simple Procedure 

Responding to a claim

Applies from 28th November 2016


What documents will I receive?

If a claim is made against you, the first formal notice you will receive is an envelope containing the following documents:

  • A copy of the Claim Form (Form 3A).
  • A Further Claimant Forms or Further Respondent Forms (Forms 3B and 3C).
  • A blank Response Form (Form 4A).
  • A copy of the Notice of Claim (Form 6A).
  • A copy of the Timetable (Form 3D).
  • A blank Time to Pay Application (Form 5A) (This form will only be included if time to pay can be applied for).
  • Any other document approved by the sheriff principal that is applicable to the claim.

This usually comes by recorded delivery post, but you may also receive it from a sheriff officer or a solicitor. A sheriff officer is authorised by the court to deliver a copy to you personally, or leave it with someone in your household or place of business.

The copy claim form contains details of the claim and the other documents contain information on how to assist you in making a response to the court and the claimant.

 

Where do I go for advice?

You may receive free advice and assistance from any of the following:

Please note that sheriff clerks and their staff cannot give you legal advice, although they can help you understand court procedures.

Alternatively, you may wish to consult a solicitor. If you wish to employ a solicitor, he or she will obtain and complete the forms for you.

 

How do I respond to a claim?

Once you receive a claim there are three ways in which you can choose to respond:

  • Admit the claim and settle it before the last date for a response.
  • Admit the claim and ask the court for time to pay.
  • Dispute the claim or part of the claim (such as the amount you should pay the claimant).

If you decide that you wish to respond in one of the three ways mentioned above, you must fill in the Response Form (Form 4A). It is important to follow the guidance within the form and make sure as much information as possible is contained in the form to allow the sheriff or summary sheriff to fully consider your response. The information also gives the claimant fair notice of what your response is.

Once you have filled in the response form, you must send it to the sheriff clerk and also to the claimant so that it is received by the last date for a response.

Part 4 of the simple procedure explains how to respond to a claim.

 

What happens if I admit the claim and settle before the last date for a response?

If you want to avoid a court decision being made against you, you should settle the claim (including any expenses) with the claimant by the last date for a response. If you do not do this, it may then be too late to prevent a court decision being made against you.

If you settle the claim in this way, the claimant must tell the court so that the claim can be brought to an end.

It may be in your best interests to contact the sheriff court yourself to confirm that the claimant has told the court that the claim has been settled.

Part 7 of the simple procedure rules explains what happens to a claim.

 

What happens if I admit the claim and ask the court for time to pay?

You may wish to admit the claim and also apply to pay any sum being claimed by instalments or within a specified period.

You can ask for time to pay in three ways:

Part 5 of the simple procedure rules explains how to ask for time to pay.

 

What happens if I ask for time to pay?

If you send a Time to Pay Application (Form 5A)to the court, or hand to the sheriff clerk at a hearing, the sheriff clerk must send a copy of your application along with a Time to Pay Notice (Form 5B) to the claimant.

The claimant then has two weeks to indicate on the notice if they accept or object to your offer and send the notice to the court.

If the claimant accepts your offer, the sheriff or summary sheriff may grant the Time to Pay Application (Form 5A) and make a decision in the case. This means you will not have to attend court.

If the claimant objects to your offer, the sheriff or summary sheriff must arrange a time to pay hearing. The sheriff clerk will write to you and the claimant to tell you the date, time and place where the hearing will take place.  It would be in your best interest to appear, or be represented, at the time to pay hearing so that the sheriff or summary sheriff can hear both you and the claimant on the application.  The sheriff or summary sheriff must decide whether to grant or refuse the application.

If the claimant does not accept or object to your offer within two weeks after being sent the Time to Pay Notice (Form 5B) by the court, the sheriff or summary sheriff must decide the case and grant or refuse the application. You may not need to attend court.

Part 5 of the simple procedure rules explains how to ask for time to pay.

 

What happens if I dispute the claim or part of the claim?

If you dispute the claim and have sent the response form to the court, the sheriff or summary sheriff will consider the case. The sheriff or summary sheriff may then do any of five things:

  • Refer you and the claimant to alternative dispute resolution
  • Arrange a case management discussion
  • Arrange a hearing
  • If the sheriff or summary sheriff feels that a decision can be made without a hearing, indicate that they are doing so
  • Dismiss the claim or decide the claim.

 

What is alternative dispute resolution? 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a way to try and settle disputes outside of the courtroom. Further information on ADR can be found on mygov.scot website.  

 

What is a case management discussion or a hearing?

For further information on what will happen at a case management discussion or hearing please see ‘What happens in a disputed case’.

Part 7 of the simple procedure rules explains what happens to a case.

 

What happens if I do not send a response form?

If you do nothing in response to the claim, the court will almost certainly make a decision against you. You will then be required to do what the claimant has asked in the claim form. You will also have to pay any interest and court expenses claimed.

If the claim form asks you to do something for the claimant or deliver something to the claimant, the court may order you to carry this out by a certain date. If you do not do this, and the claimant has asked in the claim form for payment of a sum of money if you fail to do as the court has asked, the claimant will be entitled to come back to the court and make an application for payment of the alternative amount claimed.

If the claim is for payment of a sum of money, and you do not respond to the claim, you should consider seeking advice on whether to make an application to the court for time to pay the sum of money claimed. Please see the list above on where to go for advice.

 

What happens when a decision is made?

For further information on what will happen once a decision is made in a case, please see Enforcement of the Decision’

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