Questions about Ordinary Cause procedure

Where do I send my initial writ (application for an ordinary cause case)?

In order for an ordinary cause action to be raised in Scotland, one of the sheriff courts would need to have jurisdiction to deal with the case. Jurisdiction is a legal point that can be defended in court and it depends on the specific type of case and its particular circumstances, which court will have jurisdiction. For example, it can sometimes be based on the location of an accident; on the basis of where a child resides; on the basis of where a contract has been agreed. If you are not sure, we would recommend seeking legal advice on this point.

Citizens Advice Scotland may also be able to help you.

How much does it cost?

You can access information about the fee for lodging an application in court in the Sheriff Court Fees section

Further costs are likely to be incurred thereafter, depending on the circumstances of the particular case.

Am I the pursuer or defender?

The pursuer is the person who brings the case to court, ie. the person that is suing.

The defender is the person who has the case brought against them, ie. the person who disputes the claim of the pursuer.

How is the defender made aware of the application?

The sheriff clerk cannot serve the initial writ for you; you will therefore need to arrange for a sheriff officer or solicitor to do this for you. You can get contact details for sheriff officers operating in the area that the summons is to be served from the

Society of Messengers at Arms and Sheriff Officers. You can get contact details for solicitors from the Law Society of Scotland

You cannot arrange for service of the application until it has been lodged with the court and the sheriff clerk has issued you with a warrant authorising the writ to be served on the defender.

How do I defend an ordinary cause action?

When you were sent a copy of the initial writ, you will also have been sent information on how to defend the action and a form to complete. The content of the form will depend on the type of action that has been raised against you. As the ordinary cause procedure can be complex, we would recommend seeking legal advice. If you do need legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland, can provide contact details for solicitors in your area.

How long will it take?

It is very difficult to estimate how long the process will take; it will depend on the complexity and circumstances of the individual case and also whether or not the case is defended.

How do I find out what is happening in a case?

You will need to contact the court where the case is being dealt with. Contact details for all the courts can be accessed on Court Location page.

What do I do once I have the court order?

It is the responsibility of the successful party to have the court's order enforced. The court cannot do this on your behalf. You will also be responsible for any costs involved in enforcing the order, although you may be able to recover this from the other party. More detailed information on this point can be accessed on the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officer's website.

The defender lives in England/Wales, what do I do when I get the order enforced?

Guidance can be found under Serving or Enforcing a Court Order FAQs page and on the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officer's website .

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