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Step 6: Fill in the claim form

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.

How to start a claim for Simple Procedure

If you’re taking action under Simple Procedure you need to send a ‘Simple Procedure claim form’ or Form 3A to the court to start the process. The same form is used for all types of claims under £5,000 in the Sheriff Court.

Start your claim online using Civil Online on the Scottish courts website.

Download a blank simple procedure claim form from the Scottish courts website .

To fill out the form:

If there’s anything you’re not sure about, phone the sheriff court you’re submitting your claim to.

Section C10 - formal service on the respondent

You can tick this section to indicate that you want the court to formally serve the claim form on the respondent. This is very important because the deadline for starting legal action is 6 months less 1 day from the date you were discriminated against. To 'stop the clock' on this deadline you must have formally served the claim on the respondent.

'Service' is a formal legal process where the respondent is sent a copy of the claim form by a legal agent, such as a solicitor or sheriff officer. It’s usually delivered by recorded delivery or in person. It’s used so that the respondent knows legal action is being taken against them and can’t use not knowing about the claim as a defence.

If you don’t have a lawyer who will organise service for you it may be best to tick ‘yes’ and ask the court to do this. There is usually a fee. You’ll need to get the claim form to the court with enough time for it to organise service within the 6 month deadline.

Section D1  - about your claim

In this section, you should explain:

  • you’re making a discrimination claim - mention it's under the Equality Act 2010

  • your protected characteristic - for example, your age or disability

  • what happened when you were discriminated against  - state key dates and times in order and what you saw, heard and felt

  • what action you've taken to solve the problem out of court - such as complaining or mediation

If you’re not sure what your protected characteristic is, check if your housing problem is discrimination.

You’ll need to prove these facts in court using evidence - you’ll list the evidence in Section E of the form.

Try to state which piece of evidence supports which element of your case. For example, you might write, “I made repeated requests for reasonable adjustments including a letter on 01.10.18, and phone calls on 20.10.18 and 23.10.18 (see evidence items 2, 3 and 4).”

If your claim is late

You can sometimes take legal action after the deadline if the court agrees (this is called ‘making a late claim’). You’ll have to start your legal action and also ask for the court’s permission to make a late claim.

You should explain in D1 why you're outside the 6 month time limit, for example:

  • you were sick so you couldn’t take action earlier

  • you were under 18 when the discrimination happened.

The court will only allow you to make a late claim if the judge thinks it’s fair to both sides - this is called being ‘just and equitable’. You shouldn’t rely on this though - it will depend on all the circumstances.

The court will look at the impact making a late claim would have on the case and if it would give you or the other side an advantage. They’ll also look at why your claim is late and how late it is.

Act immediately as any delay could make it harder to get the court to accept your claim. Make sure you have evidence to prove the discrimination happened - if you don’t, you won’t win your case.

The law about this is in section 118 of the Equality Act 2010.

Section D5 - what you want from the respondent

Use the calculations you did in Step 2 before you complete this part.

If you want compensation, you should complete the box called, “I want the respondent to be ordered by the court to pay me a sum of money.” You can also ask for interest. Check the interest rates on compensation for discrimination.

If you want the respondent to be ordered to do something they are under a legal duty to do (specific implement), you should complete the box called “I want the respondent to be ordered by the court to do something for me.” 

For example, you want them to make a reasonable adjustment for your disability. You will need to describe exactly what reasonable adjustment you want them to make, for example, “I want the landlord to allow me to pay rent by direct debit.” Make sure the adjustment you’re asking for is reasonable.

If you want another type of remedy, you will have to take different legal action - check what court action you should take

On the claim form you will usually tick yes to indicate that you want the other side to pay your legal costs if you win. They will usually also ask that you pay their costs if they win. The amount they can be ordered to pay is capped for claims under £3,000, so you can’t rely on this to pay all your legal costs.

Section D7 - why should your claim be successful

This is where you state how the respondent’s actions were unlawful. Make sure to mention:

  • why you were discriminated against - you’ll need to give your protected characteristic (for example, that you were pregnant when the discrimination happened)

  • the type of discrimination - for example direct discrimination. If there’s more than one, mention them all

  • if it's direct discrimination you need to mention the comparator - work out who the comparator is

  • the provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory (if it’s indirect discrimination) and why it puts you and other people with your protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage compared to people who don’t share it

  • that you’re being treated unfavourably because of something linked to your disability (if it’s discrimination arising from disability) and explain how

  • the effect it’s had on you - this could be money you’ve lost and the emotional or physical impact

  • the relevant law  that makes discriminating against you unlawful

  • what you've done to try to solve the problem out of court first, like complaining or trying mediation

The law against discrimination

You need to say which part of the law covers your circumstances - it might be more than one.

If you’re being discriminated against by someone who’s managing a property or tenancies, you should say the discrimination happened during 'management of premises'. This is the legal term that covers most things landlords do, like collecting rent and dealing with repairs. You need to say you’re bringing the claim under section 35 of the Equality Act 2010.

If your problem happened during the selling or renting of homes, you can say the discrimination happened during the ‘disposal of premises’. For example, if a landlord refused to show you a particular property because of your race or religion. You need to say you’re bringing the claim under section 33 of the Equality Act 2010.

Say the problem is about 'permission for disposal of premises' if the discrimination is by someone who needs to agree to the buying, selling or renting of homes. For example, your landlord might have refused to let you sublet a room in your flat because of the tenant’s religion. You need to say you’re bringing the claim under section 34 of Equality At 2010.

If the problem is about reasonable adjustments, say who the ‘controller of the premises’ is. This could be the person who rents it out or manages it. You should also say that they failed to make reasonable adjustments under section 20 and 36 of the Equality Act 2010 and that you’re bringing the claim under section 21 of the Equality Act 2010.

You should also say that you’re claiming under 'Part 4 of the Equality Act 2010', the type of discrimination and what part of the law it comes under.

Check which section applies: 

The type of discrimination you’re claiming for

What part of the law it comes under

Direct discrimination

Section 13 Equality Act 2010

Discrimination arising from a disability

Section 15, Equality Act 2010

Indirect discrimination

Failure to make reasonable adjustments

Section 19, Equality Act 2010

Section 20, 21 and Section 36 and schedule 4

Harassment

Victimisation

Section 26

Section 27

Section E - witnesses and evidence

See Gathering evidence about housing discrimination before you complete this section. 

Witnesses

In section E1 you’ll list any witnesses you have. Witnesses need to give evidence in person by answering questions at a hearing. They need to answer truthfully based on what they saw or what they know - it shouldn’t be what you told them happened. You should think about whether your witnesses are 'credible' - this means whether they are likely to be believed. A witness won’t be very credible if they can’t really remember what happened or keep changing their version of events. If they’re not credible, it might not be wise to rely on them as a witness.

Giving evidence can be stressful so you need to think about whether you or your witnesses are capable of this. A witness might be important to your case but find it difficult to give evidence because they’re a child, disabled or have mental health issues. You should still list them as a witness and state on the claim form that you’ll be sending a Child Witness Notice or a Vulnerable Witness Application. You can also apply to be considered a vulnerable witness yourself. This asks the court to allow evidence to be given in a special way, like through a screen or with support from someone else. The other side will also be able to get vulnerable witnesses to appear in court in this way.

If a witness is unlikely to turn up at a hearing, you can still list them as a witness but you’ll need to make sure they appear at the hearing. If their evidence is really important to your case and they refuse to come to a hearing or you think they’re likely to back out at the last minute you could arrange for them to be served with a Witness Citation Notice. This means they can be made to attend a hearing. You should note on the claim form that you intend to cite them. There’s a risk that if you do this they could give evidence that’s harmful to your case, so think carefully.

Example

Ibrahim rents a room in a large house. There are 4 other tenants in the house.

Ibrahim’s landlord always takes much longer to respond to his maintenance requests than the other tenants. Ibrahim thinks it might be because he’s a Muslim - he’s heard the landlord making comments about him to the other tenants.

If Ibrahim’s landlord is giving him a worse service because he’s a Muslim, it would be direct discrimination because of religion or belief.

After discussing his situation with an adviser, Ibrahim decides he wants to take the landlord to court. He needs the other tenants to tell the court about what the landlord said to them and how he responded to their repair requests. The other tenants are reluctant to be witnesses but Ibrahim should list them anyway because their evidence is important to prove the discrimination happened. He notes on the claim form that he’ll be serving them with Witness Citation Notices.

Other evidence

In E2 you should list all the documents, phone calls and other evidence you have gathered to prove:

  • that you have a protected characteristic

  • that you were discriminated against

  • how you have been affected by the discrimination.

For example, you might write: Proof of request for reasonable adjustments: Letter to Mr A (landlord) dated 12/07/18, sent recorded delivery.

This is also where you will include any letters from you doctor to support your disability diagnosis, if this applies.

If you have more than one piece of evidence to prove a fact, include all that are relevant.

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