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Step 5: Check the court rules you have to follow

This advice applies to Scotland

This step applies only to Simple Procedure cases. If you have started your case as an Ordinary Cause action, you should have a solicitor to represent you. They should help you start the case by Initial Writ and will be able to advise you of the next steps.

If you decide to go to court because you’ve been discriminated against, you’ll be expected to follow the rules on court action. These rules include the Simple procedure rules - available here.

The Simple Procedure Rules are there to make sure that:

  • the parties are on an equal footing

  • the parties have tried to use other methods of sorting out the problem - like alternative dispute resolution

  • the parties try to settle the claim before going to court

  • the parties try to save costs where possible

  • the way the case is dealt with reflects how much money is involved, how important or complicated the problem is and the financial position of the parties

  • the court hearing is straightforward, shorter and the outcome is more certain.

The rules include how to start a claim, what forms you have to submit to the court, how you involve witnesses and how you present other evidence.

If you or the other side - you’re called ‘the parties’ - don't follow these rules, the court might take this into account when it makes its decision.

In Simple Procedure, if you haven't done what you’re supposed to, you might find that if you don’t:

  • serve the claim on the respondent properly, it might mean you're out of time to take legal action or your claim is dismissed

  • turn up to a hearing, the sheriff might decide without you

  • make sure a witness is in court on the right day, you might lose your opportunity to present your case at its fullest

  • follow the conditions set by Sheriff they won’t hear your evidence

  • lodge evidence properly, the sheriff might refuse to consider it.

The Ordinary Cause rules are more complex than the rules for Simple Procedure. For example, there are no standard forms and strict rules about how to conduct your case. If you don’t follow the rules, you might lose your case and also have to pay expensive costs. If you want to start a claim under Ordinary Cause you should find a solicitor and read more about Ordinary cause on the Scottish courts website.

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