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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

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