Simpler and clearer forms are among the main suggestions made by respondents to a consultation on the recently introduced simple procedure in the sheriff court.

The comments appear from a summary of the responses to the consultation published today by the Scottish Civil Justice Council.

Simple procedure was introduced two years ago this month for civil cases with a value of £5,000 or less, replacing the former small claim and summary cause procedures. It is designed to be able to be used by party litigants.

The SCJC is carrying out a post-implementation review of the procedure, as part of which it undertook this consultation. It has also commissioned the University of Glasgow to carry out research into the accessibility and usability of the Simple Procedure Rules by party litigants.

There were 25 responses to the consultation, which focused on the operation of the rules, forms and standard orders in order to allow any problems to be considered and amended if necessary.

The most frequent type of comment was that the forms are too complicated, and it should be clearer to whom they should be sent – response forms for example are sometimes sent to the court but not to the claimant.

Others questioned the time that has to elapse at certain points in the procedure, and there were numerous suggestions such as permitting service by email and greater use of conference calls for case management discussions.

The SCJC's Access to Justice Committee will consider the consultation responses alongside the research report from the University of Glasgow. It will then be in a position to consider making recommendations to the full Council for any changes to the rules.

A further review will be carried out by the Council at a later date in order to ascertain whether the policy intentions of simple procedure have been met.

Click here to view the published summary.