Step 3: Decide if you need legal help for your Simple Procedure claim
The rest of the steps in this section explain how to take a Simple Procedure claim for discrimination, not an Ordinary Cause claim. Check you're taking the right legal action for the remedy you want.
If you want to start a claim under Ordinary Cause you should find a solicitor. You’re not allowed to have a lay representative in Ordinary Cause cases. Although it is possible to represent yourself, the rules are very complicated and if you don’t follow the rules properly, you could lose your case and have to pay very high legal costs.
In Simple Procedure cases in the sheriff court you can represent yourself, but it’s best to find someone to help you prepare your case and/or represent you because discrimination cases can be complex.
You have a number of options for legal help. You could have:
a lay representative - such as a citizens advice bureau adviser
a lawyer (solicitor) - which might be expensive.
You’ll need to organise legal help before you start the claim because you need to state who is representing you on the claim form.
You can also have a courtroom supporter, such as a friend, go to court with you for emotional support.
Help with legal costs
Before you take legal action you need to be aware of the legal costs involved and how you will pay for them. You will usually need to pay a fee to start the court process, unless you’re getting certain benefits. If you have a solicitor, you need to be prepared to pay them or get legal aid if you’re eligible. You shouldn't rely on winning your case to pay your legal costs.
The person who loses the case usually pays the other side’s legal costs, so you need to be prepared to pay this too. The amount you can be ordered to pay if you lose is normally capped if the claim is under £3000. Find out more about the costs of legal action using the simple procedure, including legal aid.