Help with the simple procedure claim form

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

The following advice will help you to complete the simple procedure claim form 3A on the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website.

You should use Civil Online to complete your simple procedure application and make your claim. You can find Civil Online on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals website.

If you can’t apply using Civil Online, you can ask to use a paper form. You have to include a note for the sheriff with the paper form explaining why you can't use Civil Online. The sheriff will decide if you have a good reason. You might have a good reason if you:

  • don’t have a personal laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone

  • have very poor bandwidth or limited access to the internet

  • are disabled and can’t use online forms

  • have limited ability to follow the form and you need help to complete it.

You can download and print off form 3A on the Scottish courts and Tribunals website. Then you can either post it or hand-deliver it to the sheriff court. You will have to make two copies and pay a fee, unless you’re exempt. 

If you're exempt from paying fees, you have to apply for an exemption to the sheriff clerk of the court where you’re raising the action at the same time as you’re submitting the claim form. Fee exemption can be applied for through Civil Online or by downloading the Fee Exemption forms and posting or delivering them to the sheriff court.

Before you start completing the form

Make sure you have all the details to hand to complete the claim form. For example, the respondent’s name and contact details. You may also have to create digital versions of paper copies of receipts, or orders or other types of agreement.

Before you begin you should:

Section-by-section claim form 3A guidance

The following paragraphs offer help and guidance on each stage of claim form 3A.

Section A - About the case

The first question in this section is asking what you want the court to do if you are successful.

You have options here to ask the court to order the respondent to do something.

This is also where you’ll be asked what interest you want to charge the person. This is possibly confusing if you don’t have a rate of interest stated in your agreement. There is a standard rate of interest that a sheriff has discretion to add to the sum of money you are claiming. It can be applied from the start of the incident that has led to the claim.

You could say here that you want the sheriff to apply interest at the judicial rate from the start of the problem.

Section B - About you

You’re the person raising the claim. You’re called the claimant. If you’re a sole trader and choosing to use a lay representative to make the claim you have to say what position this person may hold in your business, for example, Finance Director.

If more than one person is making the same claim, you will need to print and complete the page for each claimant.

For question B5 you have to decide if you want to be contacted online, by post or by email.

If you’re unsure about technical and digital communications then it may be better for you to use the postal service.

In the next section, you can choose to have all communications sent to your representative in question C4.

Section C - About your representation

If you’re choosing to have someone other than a solicitor represent you, you should think about how much you want them to do.

In some cases, you may only want a courtroom supporter. In other cases, you may want your representative to do everything. A representative who is not a solicitor is called a lay representative.

At Question C4, you have to indicate if you want the information about the case sent directly to your representative. If you want to receive the communications then you should select ‘No’.

If you’re the only person receiving communications from the court you’ll need to make sure your representative receives everything they need from you.

Form 2A also has to be completed to apply for a lay representative for a case under the simple procedure. You need to know exactly what you want the lay representative to do for you before you fill in the form.

Section D - About the person or company you are claiming against

The person or company you are claiming against is called the respondent.

If there’s more than one person or company to claim against then you’ll need to print and complete the page for each respondent.

If you don't know the name or address for the respondent

If you don’t know the contact details of the person or company you will have to complete form 6B as well.

On form 6B , you will have to explain at C1 what steps you’ve taken to try to find the contact details of the respondent and why these have failed to locate them. If the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service agree to this application, it will advertise your claim on its website because this is the only way you can make your claim public enough to try to locate the company.

When you can’t locate the person or the company you want to make the claim against, it may be very difficult to make the person pay the money back or do what the court asks them to do.

If the respondent lives in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands

When you have the contact details for the respondent, the claim can be delivered to either their home address or business address by recorded delivery.

If the respondent lives in another country

Different rules apply depending on which country the respondent lives in. You should get legal advice, for example from a solicitor.

Section E - About the claim you're making

Read all the boxes in Section E to check which points you want to make in each box.

You might think you’re repeating yourself from section to section but if you try to answer each question in the respective box, it will be easier for the court to understand what has happened and what you want.

E1 - What is the background to your claim

This section should be used to explain what your claim is. You need to have a legal basis for the claim to be successful, for example, that a contract you had with the respondent has been breached. This could be as simple as the fact that what you bought was not of saleable quality.

For example, you had a conservatory built and within the first year it started leaking. There was a three year warranty on the building work but the company have been unable to fix all the leaks. What you want is for the company to come to repair the building properly or refund your money.

You have to explain to the court and the person you are taking action against what your claim is about. There is guidance on the form. In summary:

  • what is your complaint

  • what should have happened that didn’t happen - provide dates if you can

  • what attempts have been made to fix the problem and why didn’t they work

  • whether any payments have been made already

  • what has the respondent failed to do.

E2 - Where did this take place

This part of the form is important as to how the event occurred, for example, if you bought goods over the internet or you ordered something online from outside Scotland. This will determine which court hears the case. This part can be complicated.

Generally cases will be heard in the sheriff court that serves the area where the respondent lives or the alleged act or event took place. However in a consumer case about goods or services you can raise the court action in the court nearest to where you live.

If your claim is about a credit agreement which is a consumer credit agreement regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, you should state this on the form. It will say on your written agreement if it is regulated. You have to attach a copy of this to form 3A.

E5 - Steps you have already taken

In this section, explain what you’ve done so far to try to resolve the problem and dispute. For example, you’ve asked for a meeting but they refused to come or you had a meeting but they refused to agree to your proposal to solve the problem.

Section F - Next steps

This section gives you the next steps after you submit your claim form.

The sheriff court will check the form and issue you a timetable for the case. The claim form will be formally served on the respondent and gives them time to respond to the claim.

F1 - Formally serving the claim form

You can choose to have the court formally serve the claim form on your behalf.

When you’re dealing with the claim yourself, it may be wise to let the court service serve the notice. There is a fee for this service from the court service (£13 plus the sheriff officer’s fee), unless you have applied for an exemption.

If you’re a company, limited liability partnership or partnership you will have to do this yourself using form 6C. You’ll also have to fill in an address label with specific information. A sheriff clerk can help you with this.

If you have a solicitor, this can be done for you and can form part of their fee.

More about simple procedure

Costs of civil court action using the simple procedure

Help with legal costs

What happens if you're taken to court for money you owe

Using a lay representative in civil legal action