Publication - Statistics

Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland 2013-14

Published: 21 Jul 2015
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781785445408

The 2013-14 Civil Justice in Scotland release includes:

1. Main statistics tables (compromising tables that appear in this bulletin)

2. Divorce & dissolution statistics tables (further breakdowns on divorce & dissolution)

3. Supplementary statistics tables (additional statistics on civil law cases in sheriff courts and the Court of Session)

4. Background data tables (an interactive dataset on civil law court cases by court, that can be used to generate user customised tables and charts)

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland 2013-14
9. Repossession and eviction

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

9. Repossession and eviction

There were 41 per cent fewer eviction cases initiated in 2013-14 compared to 2008-09

Repossession cases initiated lowest since 2008-09

Over three-quarters of repossession summary applications were granted

Repossession and eviction in Scotland

Repossession cases involve the retaking of property, usually by a lender, when a borrower is in breach or default of a mortgage or loan secured on their property. Eviction cases involve the repossessing of property by the owner from an occupier who is not the owner, usually a tenant who has accrued rent arrears. Detailed statistics on the eviction of local authority tenants are available from Scottish Government Housing statistics.

Repossession and eviction cases fall within the jurisdiction of the sheriff courts. Until recently, repossession cases relating to mortgages and loans were dealt with under ordinary cause - ordinary procedure. However, the introduction of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 on 30 September 2010 led to these cases being raised as summary applications. Eviction cases are raised under summary cause procedure.

It is important to note that a disposal in favour of the pursuer for an eviction case means that the court has permitted the eviction process to proceed. This disposal does not mean that an eviction will necessarily take place. Similarly, the number of repossession cases granted is not the same as the number of repossessions that actually occur, as some repossession orders ultimately may not be enforced.

Eviction in the courts

There were 11,778 eviction cases initiated in 2013-14. This was a rise of 12 per cent compared to 2012-13 but 41 per cent lower than 2008-09 (Table 19). Around two thirds of eviction cases initiated relate to local authority tenants. The management of rent arrears by some local authorities is likely to have contributed to the reduction in eviction cases coming to court since 2008-09. In addition measures to strengthen the protection for such tenants against eviction for rent arrears was introduced in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 and came into force on 1 August 2012. These measures may have contributed to a reduction in the number of local authority tenants evicted since 2012-13.

Just over half of eviction cases are found 'for pursuer', while 94 per cent of cases are undefended (Table 20).

Table 19: Repossession and eviction cases initiated and disposed of in the sheriff courts, by case type and procedure, 2008-09 to 2013-14

Cases Case type and procedure 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 % change
on 2012-13
Initiated Eviction (summary cause) 19,944 16,528 14,160 13,979 10,532 11,778 12
Repossession 10,141 8,266 5,224 6,752 5,385 4,770 -11
Ordinary cause 10,135 8,256 4,245 79 64 54 -16
Commercial 0 6 4 0 0 1 n/a
Summary application 6 4 975 6,673 5,321 4,715 -11
Disposed Eviction (summary cause) 19,191 16,986 14,906 13,972 12,358 11,613 -6
Repossession 7,182 6,486 5,573 4,243 4,093 3,460 -15
Ordinary cause 7,181 6,476 5,083 253 90 74 -18
Commercial 1 4 1 3 0 0 0
Summary application2 0 6 489 3,987 4,003 3,386 -15

1. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
2. The number of summary application cases disposed of is likely an underestimate. See Quality of the statistics.

Table 20: Summary cause eviction cases initiated and disposed of in the sheriff courts and final disposal, 2013-14

Case Type Initiated Disposed Disposed
Absolvitor Dismissed For pursuer Expenses only Other
Defended Undefended Defended Undefended Defended Undefended
Eviction summary cause 11,778 11,613 12 288 3,687 255 5,818 57 1,400 96

1. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
2. The number of cases disposed of is likely an underestimate. See Quality of the statistics.
3. Includes cases disposed as refused, dropped from roll and withdrawn.

Repossession in the courts

There were 4,770 repossession cases initiated in 2013-14. This represents an 11 per cent reduction compared to 2012-13 and is 53 per cent lower than the number initiated in 2008-09 (Figure 17). The procedures used to raise repossession cases have been influenced by a number of factors in recent years.

The Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, introduced on 30 September 2010, stated that all new mortgage/loan repossession cases should be raised under summary application procedure instead of ordinary cause - ordinary procedure. This is the reason for the decrease in ordinary cause cases and the increase in summary applications since 2010-11. An additional factor affecting these statistics was the UK Supreme Court judgment in the RBS v Wilson case on 24 November 2010 which directed that all active mortgage-related repossession cases be withdrawn from the courts and resubmitted as summary applications following a two month waiting period. This resulted in only a small increase in repossession summary applications during 2010-11 followed by a greater increase during 2011-12 (Table 19).

Figure 17: Repossession cases by procedure

Figure 17: Repossession cases by procedure

Where a repossession case relates to non-residential land or property, the action may be raised either as a summary application or as an ordinary action. Accordingly a number of repossession cases relating to non-residential property or land continue to be raised as ordinary cause.

Over three-quarters of repossession summary applications are granted (Table 21).

Table 21: Summary application repossession cases initiated and disposed of in the sheriff courts, by case type and final disposal, 2013-14

Case Type Initiated Disposed Disposed
Granted Dismissed Other3
Repossession summary application 4,715 3,386 2,558 799 29

1. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
2. The number of cases disposed of is likely an underestimate. See Quality of the statistics.
3. Includes cases disposed as refused, dropped from roll and withdrawn.


Contact

Email: Alasdair Anthony