Ordinary Cause

What is the ordinary cause procedure?

The Ordinary Cause procedure can be used in the sheriff court where the value of the claim is over £5000. It is also the procedure used in the sheriff court for a number of other actions for example family actions, including divorce, dissolution of civil partnership, applications for orders relating to children eg. residence and contact. The procedure is quite complex and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service would therefore advise applicants to seek legal advice.

Which forms do I need to use?

There is no set application form to be completed when applying using the ordinary cause procedure; instead it is raised using an initial writ. There are styles available within the Ordinary Cause Rules, and can be accessed at:

How much does it cost?

Court fees are payable for lodging these applications in court, and the current fees can be accessed in the Sheriff Court Fees section. (Please note that separate fees are payable for personal injury cases in the All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court).

You may be entitled to fee exemption, for example if you are entitled to certain state benefits. Further information can be found in the Court Fees section and in the Fee Exemption Application Form.

You should note that these fees do not include any fees you may need to pay if you have instructed a solicitor to help you. The solicitor can give you information on these costs.


The ordinary cause rules.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions related to ordinary causes can be accessed in the Frequently Asked Question Section.

Further information

As the procedure is complex, we would recommend seeking legal advice; the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors.

The Citizens Advice Bureau can also assist you; you can find contact details for your local office on the Citizens Advice Bureau website. They also provide more information on the following subjects that can fall under the ordinary cause procedure at:

The Scottish Government also provide information on the following topics:

Where can I get legal advice?

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service staff are not legally qualified and therefore cannot provide you with any legal advice. If you do need legal advice, the Law Society of Scotland can provide contact details for solicitors in your area.

Please Note: The information above cannot cover every situation which might arise in the course of a claim. You should also note that this information is not the authority upon which the procedure is based. The formal authority is contained in the rules.

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