New Rules: Simple Procedure Review

Jun 16, 2022

The Act of Sederunt (Simple Procedure Amendment) (Miscellaneous) 2022/211 was made on 16 June 2022 and comes into force on 28 November 2022.

The rules will apply to all new simple procedure claims lodged from the date of commencement. Existing claims will be unaffected by the changes and will progress to completion under the current 2016 rules. 

 Simple Procedure Rules Review

The rules were developed following an operational review of the 2016 rules conducted by the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s Access to Justice Committee. The aim of the review was to obtain feedback on the operation of the rules, forms and standard orders in order to implement any necessary rule changes prior to the introduction of new rules for simple procedure ‘special claims’.

 Comprehensive feedback on all these aspects was obtained via:

  • a public consultation which ran from 27 February to 31 May 2018;
  • research commissioned from the University of Glasgow into the experiences of party litigants using Simple Procedure; and,
  • a report from SCTS on the operation of simple procedure from the courts’ perspective.

This feedback assisted the Committee in identifying relevant changes that could make Simple Procedure more operationally efficient for all court users.

The main changes are:

Rule changes

  • amendments to the rules to clarify the circumstances in which the sheriff clerk may formally serve the claim form;
  • clarifying the sheriff’s powers designed to ensure the effective management of cases;
  • new provisions which facilitate a claim form or response form being served electronically by e-mail service;
  • amendments clarifying the procedures for the issue of a decision form/alternative decision form, the recall of a decision and for hearings on expenses; and
  • improved procedures for lodging documents and other evidence with the court before a hearing.
  • In addition the application forms have been streamlined as far as possible by consolidating several forms into a flexible ‘Additional Orders Application’ by which the parties can ask the sheriff to make any orders. Part 9 of the rules is therefore deleted and substituted by a new Part 9 regulating the procedure for these applications.

Forms and standard orders

Forms and standard orders have been revised and the content streamlined to take account of consultation feedback and to align with the overall procedural rule changes made throughout the instrument. In particular:

  • Form 3A (claim form) and Form 4A (response form) now include party details and orders sought in a summary front page and all sections of the forms relating to contact preferences now incorporate options for: online (i.e. via the civil online portal), by post and by email;
  • A new standard form (Form 9A) ‘Additional Orders Application’ replaces thirteen forms* which are now omitted;
  •  Form 13A (decision form) is revised and includes a section for noting the sheriff’s reasons (where they have taken time to consider the decision).
  • Standard orders 1, 2 and 7 to 10 are revised to make reference to the new Additional Orders Application and amended court procedures;
  • a new standard order 3, simplifies the process of making a decision without a hearing;  standard order 6 is revised to warn the recipient about the potential outcomes of non-compliance with an ‘unless order’ and a new standard order 14 is provided for use in cases with additional respondents. 

 In addition, forms have been reformatted been to improve accessibility.

The Council approved the amendments to the rules at its meeting on 25 April 2022. The Council noted that a further review would be required at a later date to ascertain whether the policy intentions of Simple Procedure have been met.

 

 * (Form 3B (further claimant form), Form 3C (further respondent form), Form 3E (change of timetable application), Form 9A (application to pause), Form 9B (application to restart), Form 9C (additional respondent application), Form 9D (application to amend), Form 9E (abandonment notice), Form 9F (application to represent), Form 9G (incidental orders application), Form 10B (recovery of documents application), Form 10C (application to open confidential document), Form 10D (special recovery of documents application))

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Providing Feedback

The SCJC welcomes feedback on any aspect of court rules.

Please email your comments to the Secretariat scjc@scotcourts.gov.uk