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Act of Sederunt (Simple Procedure) 2016

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PART 1: An overview of simple procedure

1.1What is simple procedure?
(1)Simple procedure is a court process designed to provide a speedy, inexpensive and informal way to resolve disputes.
1.2What are the principles of simple procedure?
(1)Cases are to be resolved as quickly as possible, at the least expense to parties and the courts.
(2)The approach of the court to a case is to be as informal as is appropriate, taking into account the nature and complexity of the dispute.
(3)Parties are to be treated even-handedly by the court.
(4)Parties are to be encouraged to settle their disputes by negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, and should be able to do so throughout the progress of a case.
(5)Parties should only have to come to court when it is necessary to do so to progress or resolve their dispute.
1.3Who takes part in a simple procedure case?
(1)A simple procedure case involves a claim being made in the sheriff court.
(2)The person who makes the claim is the claimant.
(3)The person the claim is made against is the respondent.
(4)The claimant and the respondents are the parties.
(5)The case will be decided by the sheriff, who is in charge of the court.
(6)The sheriff clerk provides administrative support to the sheriff.
(7)A claim which is registered by the sheriff clerk is a simple procedure case.
(8)Parties may represent themselves or have representatives.
(9)Parties may be assisted by courtroom supporters.
1.4What are the sheriff’s responsibilities?
(1)The sheriff must take into account the principles of simple procedure when managing cases and when interpreting these rules.
(2)The sheriff must ensure that parties who are not represented, or parties who do not have legal representation, are not unfairly disadvantaged.
(3)The sheriff must encourage cases to be resolved by negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, where possible.
(4)If a case cannot be resolved by negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, the sheriff must decide the case.
1.5What are parties’ responsibilities?
(1)Parties must respect the principles of simple procedure.
(2)Parties must be honest with each other, with representatives and with the sheriff.
(3)Parties must be respectful and courteous to each other, to representatives, to witnesses and to the sheriff.
(4)Parties must not try to make a witness give misleading evidence.
(5)Parties must consider throughout the progress of a case whether their dispute could be resolved by negotiation or alternative dispute resolution.
(6)Parties must approach any negotiation or alternative dispute resolution with an open and constructive attitude.
(7)Parties must follow the sheriff’s orders.
1.6What are representatives’ responsibilities?
(1)Representatives must respect the principles of simple procedure.
(2)Representatives must be honest with each other, with parties and with the sheriff.
(3)Representatives must be respectful and courteous to each other, to parties, to witnesses and to the sheriff.
(4)Representatives must act in the best interests of the person being represented, and not allow any personal interest to influence their advice or actions.
(5)Representatives must not knowingly make claims or arguments which have no factual or legal basis.
(6)Representatives must maintain client confidentiality.
(7)Representatives must not try to make a witness give misleading evidence.
(8)Representatives must not act where they have a conflict of interest.
(9)When appearing against a party who is not represented, or who is not legally represented, representatives must not take advantage of that party.
(10)When appearing against a party who is not represented, or who is not legally represented, representatives must help the court to allow that person to argue a case fairly.
(11)Representatives must follow the sheriff’s orders.
1.7What are the sheriff clerk’s responsibilities?
(1)The sheriff clerk must maintain a register of simple procedure cases.
(2)The sheriff clerk must send the sheriff’s written orders to the parties.
1.8What are the sheriff’s powers?
(1)The sheriff may give orders to the parties, either in person or by giving written orders.
(2)The sheriff may do anything or give any order considered necessary to encourage negotiation or alternative dispute resolution between the parties.
(3)The sheriff may do anything or give any order considered necessary to decide the case.
(4)The sheriff may relieve a party from the consequences of failing to comply with any of the Simple Procedure Rules. When doing so, the sheriff may impose conditions or make orders about expenses.
(5)The sheriff may give orders which vary a deadline or period of time set out in the Simple Procedure Rules.
(6)The sheriff may make decisions about the form, location and conduct of a discussion in court, case management discussion or hearing. The sheriff must explain to parties why these decisions were made.
(7)The sheriff may combine separate cases, so that any discussion in court, case management discussion or hearing in the cases is held at the same time.
(8)The sheriff may continue any discussion in court, case management discussion or hearing to another day only if it is necessary to do so.
(9)The sheriff may pause and restart the progress of a case.
(10)The sheriff may decide a case without a hearing.
(11)If a claim, or part of a claim, obviously has no real prospect of success, the sheriff may dismiss the claim or that part of it at any time.
(12)If a claim, or part of claim, obviously will not succeed because it is incompetent, the sheriff may dismiss the claim or that part of it at any time.
(13)If a response, or part of a response, obviously will not succeed because it is incompetent, the sheriff may decide a case, or that part of it, at any time.
(14)The sheriff may make provisional orders or interim orders which protect or secure a claimant’s position before a hearing.
(15)The sheriff may order an authenticated copy of any document to be treated as an original, where the original is lost or destroyed.
(16)The sheriff may transfer a simple procedure case to another court, whether in the same sheriffdom or not.
(17)If a claim should have been raised in a different sheriff court the sheriff must transfer the claim to a court in which the claim could have been raised, unless the sheriff is satisfied that there is a good reason not to.

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