The 14th January 2008 saw the introduction of new Scottish Court Limits. You will see from the below that the changes are considerable:
Previous Limits: Up to £750
New Limits: Up to £3000
Previous Limits: £750--£1500
New Limits: £3000-£5000
Previous Limits: £1500 +
New Limits: £5000 +
A Closer Look
The Small Claims (Scotland) Amendment Order 2007 amends the Small Claims (Scotland) Order 1988 (S.I. 1988/1999) ("the 1988 Order"). Under the 1988 Order, small claims cannot exceed £750 in amount (exclusive of interest and expenses). The Order raises the limit of £750 to £3000. Actions for personal injury are excluded from the category of actions which must be brought as a small claim. The Order also amends the amount of expenses which the sheriff may award in a small claim where the value of the claim exceeds £200. The sheriff may now, where the value of the claim is £1500 or less, award expenses up to £150. Where the value of the claim is greater than £1500, the sheriff may award expenses up to 10% of the value of the claim (article 2). The Order does not affect any small claim which was commenced prior to 14th January 2008 (article 3).
The Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 (Privative Jurisdiction and Summary Cause) Order 2007 raises the limit of the privative (or exclusive) jurisdiction of the sheriff court and the limit of the summary cause from £1500 to £5000. The new limits do not apply to proceedings commenced before the Order came into force.
Below are a couple of mock examples of how these changes may work in practice (taken from http://www.scotland.gov.uk)
Household Goods - Mrs X bought an oak dining table for £1,200. On closer inspection, following delivery, she noticed that there was a scratch down one of the legs of the table. The company refused to replace the table. Mrs X decided not to bring a summary cause action in case she lost and had to pay unknown amount of expenses. The increase in the small claims limit means that Mrs X is able to bring a small claims action without worrying about how much it might cost her.
Bank Charges - Mr Y wanted to take court action to recover £2,250 worth of bank charges paid over the last three years. He didn´t want to use the ordinary cause procedure because of the expense involved so he decided to make three separate small claims of £750. The sheriff ruled against Mr Y making a multiple claim concerning the same bank account. Increasing the small claims limit to £3,000, means that anyone in Mr Y´s position would only have to use the small claims procedure once to reclaim bank charges up to £3,000.
Normally financial limits of this nature would be updated periodically in an uncontentious way. However, in this case, it has now been 19 years since the jurisdiction limits were last increased.
Should you have any questions relating to these new limits or any other query then please don´t hesitate to contact me using the details below.
Yuill + Kyle
0141 572 4251
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