Summary Cause

As from 28 NOVEMBER 2016, if you are raising a claim which seeks payment for £5000 or less, delivery or recovery of possession of moveable property or an order for someone to do something specific where there is an alternative claim for £5000 or less, you should use the SIMPLE PROCEDURE. 

The information below applies to all other summary cause actions (i.e. actions for delivery only; actions for delivery where there is an additional claim for £5000 or less; actions for recovery of possession of heritable property; and damages resulting from personal injuries).

It also still applies in respect of summary cause actions which have a monetary value of £5,000 or less raised that were raised before 28 NOVEMBER 2016.

What is a summary cause?

The summary cause procedure is used where the value of the claim is over £3000 up to £5000. There are some circumstances where this procedure is to be used however, even if the value of the claim is less than £3000; for example, actions for recovery of possession of heritable property and damages resulting from personal injuries. New rules were introduced for personal injury cases raised on or after 1 September 2012, guidance notes and forms are available on the website. For claims over the value of £5000, the ordinary cause procedure should be used. You do not need to use a solicitor to use the summary cause procedure, but you can do if you wish. Summary cause applications can only be raised in the sheriff court.

Guidance notes

Guidance notes are available to assist you and provide very useful information on the summary cause procedure. They include information on the procedure more generally; helpful advice on completing the forms; defending an action; and some useful information if you need to go to court. It is recommended that you read these guidance notes before deciding whether or not to raise a claim and also to refer to them throughout the procedure.

If you wish to consider settling out of court, information on the various options, including how alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may help solve a consumer problem, is available on the Citizens Advice Scotland website

Which forms do I need to use?

You should first complete Form 1, which is the court copy of the summons. This form appears when you select either Form 1a or Form 1b.

If you are raising a claim against an individual you should then complete Form 1a .

If you are raising a claim against a company you should then complete Form 1b.

There are other forms which will need to be used at different stages of the procedure; all forms can be accessed in the summary cause forms section.

How much does it cost?

Court fees are payable for lodging these claims in court, and the current fees can be accessed in the Sheriff Court Fees section. You may be entitled to fee exemption, for example if you are entitled to certain state benefits. Further information can be found in the Sheriff Court Fees section.

You should note that these fees do not include any fees you may need to pay if you have instructed a solicitor to help you. The solicitor can give you information on these costs.

Can I claim expenses?

At the end of proceedings in a summary cause case, if the court makes an award of expenses, the amount to be awarded is normally calculated by the clerk of court. The amount that is awarded will depend on the claim amount and the nature of the work which has been done in the case. Further, more detailed, information can be found in the guidance notes.


Act of Sederunt (Summary Cause Rules) 2002

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions related to summary cause can be accessed in the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Further information

If you would like further information on the summary cause procedure, please contact your local sheriff court. If you plan to visit the court to get further guidance or information it would be helpful to contact the court in advance to arrange a suitable time to do this, for example outwith busy court times. It would also be helpful to mention whether you have any special access or communication support needs.

Citizens Advice Bureau can also assist you, you can find contact details for your local office on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Some useful information about repossessions in Scotland is also available on the Shelter website under 'Repossession of your house/home and how to stop it'


Where can I get legal advice?

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service staff are not legally qualified and therefore cannot provide you with any legal advice. If you do need legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors in your area and information on eligibility for legal aid or assistance.

Please Note: The information above cannot cover every situation which might arise in the course of a claim. You should also note that this information is not the authority upon which the procedure is based. The formal authority is contained in the rules.

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