Taking a trader to court
Before making the decision to go to court it’s important that you first attempt to resolve the issue directly with the trader, this can involve speaking to the trader directly and sending formal letters of complaint. You should also look at ADR as a way of resolving the dispute out of court, this is generally cheaper and quicker than court action with some courts requiring that you have attempted this before accepting your claim. You can find more information on the ADR process here.
The Small Claims process in Scotland was replaced by in 2016 by the Simple Procedure which aims to make the process for claims of up to £5000 quicker and also less formal as in some cases attending court is not a requirement.
You should complete the claim form which is available online and send this to the Sheriff court, this would usually be the court closest to the trader that your claim is against. You can find more information on submitting a Simple Procedure on the Scot Courts website.
Some things to consider before taking court action;
- The costs of making a claim, there is a fee for raising a Simple Procedure which can vary depending on the amount your claim is for, if you’re in receipt of certain benefits you may not have to pay. You can find more information on court fees on the Scot Courts website.
- Is the company still trading? And will the trader be able to pay?
- If the Sheriff finds in your favour can you afford any additional costs to enforce payment?
- If the trader submits a defence then you may have to attend court.
If you require legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland has a list of solicitors to choose from.