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Changes to Eviction Actions - Sheriff Court Practice Note Update

Changes to Eviction Actions - Sheriff Court Practice Note Update

Please note that a new practice note has been issued by the Sheriffs Principal of the six Scottish Sheriffdoms introducing new guidance which will apply to all eviction actions in all sheriff courts throughout Scotland.

This new practice note is to take effect from Wednesday 13 July 2022.

We would advise that we had no prior notice of this practice note nor has there been any consultation with any practitioner prior to its introduction.

Please find a link to the practice note here and this link will also take you to a news story relating to its introduction.

From 13 July 2022 - in all eviction actions (including those already raised) only one continuation will now be allowed for a maximum period of 12 weeks. After that continuation, no further continuation or adjournment will be granted unless there are “exceptional circumstances”. No guidance is provided on what will constitute “exceptional circumstances”.

The practice note also indicates that these actions will not be sisted unless that are exceptional circumstances.

We will require to provide a form to the clerk of the court at least two working days prior to the court hearing setting out what our instructions are for each case and whether there is any agreed disposal of the case.

From 13 July all procedural hearings will be conducted in person unless otherwise directed by the court. The practice note indicates that participation in hearings by electronic means will be facilitated if ‘five working days’ notice is given to the court in advance.

We will require to inform tenants of this aspect of the practice note should they wish to attend hearings by electronic means.

We appreciate that the introduction of this practice note will require significant changes to current practices and processes in relation to these actions.

We can advise that a group of practitioners have written to the Sheriffs Principal asking them to consider withdrawing or at least delaying the introduction of this new practice note and we will let you know if any response is received.

We are working through the practicalities of this new process and will keep you fully advised of any further changes or updates.

Written by : Jim Bauld