Given the complex nature of civil law, all descriptions and definitions given here are necessarily general in nature. They are intended to provide sufficient information to allow readers to understand civil law statistics but they are not official definitions.
4.1 Civil law case types
Support or maintenance of a spouse / civil partner or child.
Child in place of safety
Warrant to continue keeping a child in a place of safety (Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011). Now referred to as "extend/vary interim order".
Children's hearings - appeal
Appeal against the decision of a children's hearing (Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011).
Children's hearings - referral
Refer to the sheriff for a decision when the grounds for a children's hearing are denied or not understood by the child or relevant person (Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011).
Civil non-harassment order
Legal document from the court giving the executor(s) authority to uplift any money or other property belonging to a deceased person from the holder (such as the bank), and to administer and distribute it according to law.
Actions arising out of, or concerned with, any transaction or dispute of a commercial or business nature which are carried out under specific commercial procedure.
Actions relating to companies and how they operate, including liquidations.
Payment of money to compensate for non-personal loss or injury. For the purpose of the statistics in this bulletin, the definition for damages does not include damages for personal injuries, which are treated separately.
Payment of money, excluding damages and personal injury.
Appointment of a person (known as an executor dative) to administer the estate of a deceased person, usually because they died without leaving a will.
Delivery of moveable goods or property. An alternative crave for payment is sometimes included in the event that the goods or property are not returned.
The taking of property by the owner from an occupier. The pursuer is the owner and the action is often, but not always, used as a result of rent arrears.
Exclusion order - child's home
Local authority application to exclude a person from a child's home (Children (Scotland) Act 1995 §76).
Exclusion order - matrimonial
Suspend the right of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant to occupy the matrimonial home (Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 §4).
Extend/vary interim order
Application to extend or vary interim compulsory supervision order (Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011). Previously referred to in this bulletin as "child in place of safety".
Fulfil an obligation or duty.
Infringement of copyright, patents, trademarks, etc.
Prevent a particular action being carried out.
A remedy whereby the Court of Session may review and if necessary quash the decision of inferior courts, tribunals and other public offices and authorities where no other form of appeal is available.
Land / heritable
All actions relating to land or immoveable property.
Wind up and dissolve a corporate body.
An ancient "noble office" or power of the Court of Session (and the High Court of Justiciary) which allows the Court to provide a legal remedy where none exists.
Nullity of marriage / civil partnership
Void a marriage / civil partnership.
Parental responsibilities and rights
All actions relating to parental responsibilities and rights under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 §11.
Parental responsibilities and rights - contact
Regulate the arrangements for maintaining personal relations between a child under 16 and a person with whom the child is not living (Children (Scotland) Act 1995 §11(2)(d)).
Parental responsibilities and rights - residence
Regulate the arrangements as to with whom a child under 16 is to live (Children (Scotland) Act 1995 §11(2)(c)).
Parental responsibilities and rights - other
Other actions relating to parental responsibilities and rights under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 §11, excluding contact and residence.
Permanence order with authority to adopt
Vest parental rights for a child in a local authority and permit the placement of the child for adoption in advance of the adoption order (Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 §80).
Permanence orders with authority to adopt replaced adoption freeing orders from September 2009. Any adoption freeing orders initiated before this date but disposed of during 2010-11 are included in the statistics for permanence orders with authority to adopt.
Personal injury - asbestos - live mesothelioma
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs, or around the abdominal organs. A mesothelioma sufferer (or someone with a Power of Attorney for a mesothelioma sufferer) is the pursuer.
Personal injury - asbestos - post mesothelioma
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs, or around the abdominal organs. A mesothelioma sufferer's relative or executor is the pursuer and the sufferer has died and did not initiate court action themselves.
Personal injury - asbestos - pleural plaques
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury relating to asbestos-related pleural plaques - scarring of the membranes around the lungs.
Personal injury - asbestos - pleural thickening
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury relating to asbestos-related pleural thickening. Pleural thickening can cause breathlessness, asbestosis of the lungs, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Personal Injury - asbestos - other
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury relating to other asbestos-related illnesses.
Personal injury - clinical negligence
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury relating to clinical negligence.
Personal injury - relative's claim
Payment of money to compensate for personal loss or injury to a relative of someone who has died.
Personal injury - other
Payment of money to compensate for other personal loss or injury.
Repossess a property in breach / default of a mortgage or loan secured on the property. These cases can be initiated under ordinary cause or summary application procedure. Following the introduction of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 on 30 September 2010, all repossession cases relating to mortgages or loans secured on residential property are to be raised as summary applications. Previously, nearly all court actions of this type were made under ordinary cause procedure.
Determine the rights of inheritance to a deceased person's estate.
Authorise the steps to be taken to ensure the recovery of money owed by one or more debtors to certain public creditors.
Suspend a charge.
Actions relating to the creation and administration of trusts.
4.2 Disposal types (first instance)
An order which prevents the pursuer from bringing the same matter to court again. The majority of those orders will have been issued as a direct consequence of the parties coming to an out-of-court settlement.
Defended / undefended
A case is defended if the defender lodges a notice of intention to defend or appear, or lodges answers. If the defender does not subsequently defend the case, the final disposal is still marked as defended. Decree can be awarded in favour of the defender even if the case is not defended. For example, the parties could settle out of court and ask for the case to be dismissed before the defender lodges a notice of intention to defend. This would be recorded in the statistics as "Dismissed, Undefended".
Dismissed (excluding appeals / reclaiming motions)
Decree is granted in favour of the defender. The pursuer can raise further court action in relation to the same matter.
Dropped from roll
The application is dropped from the roll. The pursuer can lodge a motion to recall the case. This usually occurs when the pursuer fails to return the application to court for the initial hearing date and no party attends.
The merits of the case are decided but the court reserves the question of expenses, which is dealt with at a later date. When expenses have been dealt with, the case is finally disposed of and the final disposal is recorded as Expenses Only.
Expenses only (sheriff courts)
Expenses are awarded to the pursuer, with the rest of the matter dropped.
For petitioner / pursuer / respondent
Decree is granted in favour of the petitioner / pursuer / respondent.
Decree is granted in favour of the pursuer.
Opposed / unopposed (petition department)
A petition is opposed if the respondent lodges answers. It cannot be determined from the statistics whether unopposed petitions were awarded in favour of the petitioner, respondent, etc.
Refused (excluding appeals / reclaiming motions)
The case is refused. This could be for a number of reasons, for example on the basis that the case is incompetent, it has no merit, it is not insisted upon, etc.
The case is withdrawn by the pursuer. This could be for a number of reasons, for example the case is incompetent, it has no merit, the pursuer does not wish to take the matter any further, etc.
4.3 Disposal types (appeals and reclaiming motions)
The appeal is abandoned and the original judgment stands.
The original judgment is adhered to.
The appeal is allowed and the original judgment is altered or reversed.
The appeal is not allowed and the original judgment is adhered to.
The original judgment is recalled.
The appeal is refused and the original judgment is adhered to. Expenses only (Court of Session).
The original judgment is varied.
A specialist lawyer who can represent clients in the senior courts, as opposed to a solicitor (although there is now a third category of lawyers known as "solicitor-advocates"). Advocates are similar to barristers in England and Wales.
Any second and subsequent legal remedies requested by the pursuer / petitioner, as stated in the initial writ / summons.
Another term for an advocate or solicitor-advocate.
The order of the judge or sheriff disposing of a case.
Defender / respondent
The person or body against whom a case is raised.
Completion of a case following the issuing of a final judgment.
Initial writ / summons
A form of document used to commence some court cases.
The registration of a case with the court.
The first legal remedy requested by the pursuer / petitioner, as stated in the initial writ / summons, etc.
Pursuer / petitioner
The person or body who is raising the court case. In simple procedure cases, the pursuer is known as the claimant.
Appeals from the Outer House of the Court of Session, which are raised in the Inner House.
Cases that have been suspended. Known as pause in simple procedure.
Form of application in the sheriff court for a variety of statutory applications, including certain kinds of statutory appeal to the sheriff as distinct from an initial writ, small claims or summary cause.
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