Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

What is simple procedure

This advice applies to Scotland

The simple procedure in the sheriff court is meant to provide a simple, quick, informal and inexpensive way to settle claims worth up to £5,000.

The simple procedure replaces the small claims and summary cause procedures from 28 November 2016.

If you need advice about a civil court action that was started before 28 November 2016 that has not yet been resolved you can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

The simple procedure is the civil legal procedure that can be used for:

  • payment of a sum of money, for example, a loan that you are due to pay off but have missed instalments, or
  • the return or delivery of goods, for example, something you have paid for that wasn’t delivered, or
  • for the completion or performance of a service, for example, a contract you had with a builder hasn’t been fulfilled.

It allows you to take or defend legal action without having to use a solicitor.

You might decide that you want to use a solicitor but you should check what that might cost first as legal aid is not available for starting or defending simple procedure cases up to the value of £3,000. You can have a lay representative. A trainee solicitor is allowed to be a lay representative.

Some legal aid may be available for legal representation under the simple procedure in a case valued at over £3,000 and up to £5,000.

If you would like more information about starting or defending a simple procedure claim please see:

You can find out more about simple procedure rules and forms at

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?
Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.