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Taking legal action

Taking legal action can be stressful and expensive. It will help if you understand how the legal system works and what kind of help you can get.

These pages explain the different types of courts that make up the legal system and what they are used for.

You can find how if you are entitled to help with costs and who can give legal advice. You can also find information about how to solve your problem without going to court.

Courts of law

Information about the court system, covering civil and criminal courts including an outline of international courts.

Scottish Tribunals

Information about Scottish Tribunals that deal with a range of matters outside of the civil court structure and cover hearings and appeals in certain areas of law that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Do you need help with a legal case

An overview of the types of legal advice and support available if you need help with a legal case and factors to take into consideration before taking legal action.

Using a solicitor

Information on whether a solicitor is needed to provide legal advice, making a choice, guidelines on costs and complaints procedure.

What is simple procedure

Information about the simple procedure for civil court actions up to £5,000 that replaces the small claims and summary cause procedures.

Taking someone to court

Information to explain how to start court action using the simple procedure when the value of the claim is up to £5,000.

What to do if someone owes you money or compensation for faulty goods or services

Information about how to take court action under the simple procedure for money owed to you or for faulty goods or services.

What happens if you are taken to court for money you owe

Information about what to do if someone takes you to court under the simple procedure claiming that you owe them money.

Powers of the sheriff in civil legal action below the value of £5,000

Information about powers of the sheriff in civil legal action below £5,000.

Using a lay representative in civil court action

Information about who may be a lay representative and how they can help you prepare and conduct a civil legal case.

Costs of civil court action using the simple procedure

Information on the costs of civil court actions up to £5,000 using the simple procedure.

Help with legal costs

Document covers sources of advice and help with legal costs from publicly funded and other legal help schemes in Scotland.

Complaints about court and Scottish Tribunal staff

Information on complaining about court and Scottish Tribunal staff.

What is a small claim

Information on the small claims procedure for claims started or in progress before 28 November 2016.

Jury service

Information on jury service covering who can serve, and rights and duties of jurors.

Young people and the law

Document covers the age of criminal responsibility and the rights of young people in relation to the police and in criminal and civil proceedings.