European Commission > EJN > Procedural time limits > Scotland

Last update: 17-08-2007
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Procedural time limits - Scotland

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters; 1.
2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971. 2.
3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures? 3.
4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? 4.
4.a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service? 4.a)
5. From when does this period begin to run: 5.
5.a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the [date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ? 5.a)
5.b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days? 5.b)
5.c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years?; 5.c)
5.d) When do such deadlines expire? 5.d)
6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event? 6.
7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the mainland territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have geographically separate entities 1), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ? 7.
8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad? 8.
9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters? 9.
10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended? 10.
11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit? 11.
12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods? 12.
13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties? 13.

 

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters;

Time for responding to a claim

For Court of Session cases where service within Europe and furth (or outside) of Europe, the deadline is 21 days from date of service. For certain cases where service is not effected by a method prescribed by these rules, the deadline is 42 days.

For Sheriff Court cases where service is within Europe the deadline is 21 days from date of service. For all cases where service is outside Europe the deadline is 42 days from date of service.

More information can be found in

Periods of prescription or limitation

There is a wide range of prescriptive or limitation periods applicable to different kinds of rights and obligations. Most rights and obligations are covered by the time limits set out in the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, as amended by the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1984. The main time limits in the 1973 Act are as follows:

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  • A 20-year prescriptive period applies to all obligations except those to which another period expressly applies, under section 7 of the 1973 Act.
  • However, most obligations (e.g. most obligations to make periodic payments of money in respect of occupancy of land, e.g. rent; and most other contractual obligations e.g. repayment of loans and payment of installments under hire purchase agreements) are subject to a 5-year prescriptive period: section 6 of the 1973 Act.
  • Claims for damages in respect of personal injury must be raised within 3 years (sections 17 and 18 of the 1973 Act), as must actions for defamation (section 18A) and actions claiming damages for harassment (section 18B). This time limit can be waived by the court where it seems to the court equitable to do so: section 19A of the 1973 Act.

Some rights and obligations are imprescriptible, that is they are never extinguished simply by the passage of time. These include:

  •  Rights of ownership in land; and
  • Obligations of trustees to produce accounts, to make reparation for breaches of trust or to hand over trust property to persons entitled to receive it.

2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971.

Apart from Saturday and Sunday, non-working days in Scotland include the following bank holidays:

New Year’s Day1 January
New Year Holiday2 January
Good FridayFriday before Easter
Early May Bank HolidayFirst Monday in May
Spring Bank HolidayLast Monday in May
Summer Bank HolidayFirst Monday in August
Christmas Day25 December
Boxing Day26 December

Where Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day and 2 January falls on a weekend the next weekday becomes a bank holiday. For example if 25 and 26 December are Saturday and Sunday respectively the following Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays.

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All dates are prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 except the Spring Bank holiday and Boxing Day which are subject to Royal Proclamation.

3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures?

Prescription and limitation

The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 as amended by the 1984 Act sets out detailed provisions on calculation of the various prescriptive and limitation periods as described in the answer to question 1.

4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality?

Start time is determined by date of service. For postal service, the date of execution of service is the day after posting of the writ/summons. In respect of a summons where the expiry date happens to fall on a weekend day or a bank or court holiday day, the date of expiry is effectively extended to the next non-weekend or next working day.

4.a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service?

Start date is always date of execution of service, regardless of method of service. For details on definition of date of execution of service, please refer to answer to question 4.

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5. From when does this period begin to run:

5.a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the [date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ?

The date of the act. First day after day of execution of service is the first day counted when counting down deadline (subject to detail given in question 4 about holidays).

5.b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days?

Calendar days (but see question 4 also on holidays etc). Although time limits cannot expire on a non-working day, when the deadline is counted down all other non-working days are included.

5.c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years?;

Whenever the phrase “month” appears in court documents, it means calendar month.

5.d) When do such deadlines expire?

Deadlines expire according to the principles outlined in previous questions, i.e. depending upon time limit, it is on the final day, bearing in mind that a countdown begins with the day after date of service.

6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event?

Yes. Please see the answer to question 4.

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7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the mainland territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have geographically separate entities 1), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those which live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long ?

This question does not apply to Scotland in the way implied. For deadlines on service outside Scotland please see answer to question 1.

8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad?

Please see the answer to question 7.

9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters?

Yes. The defender would have 14 days from date of intimation of the final order or interlocutor to appeal the decision and notify the court of this intention.

10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended?

Only in exceptional circumstances. For shortened periods, the minimum deadline would be 48 hours. Only in cases where interim interdicts are issued in child welfare cases could the requirement of prior notification on the defender be dispensed with entirely. In such cases a hearing could of course be fixed afterwards to allow due process to all parties.

11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit?

No

12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods?

If the defender fails to defend the action, judgment can be issued in absence, if so requested by the applicant. This can of course be appealed by the defender, as outlined in the answer to question 9.

13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties?

The defender can petition the court to extend the deadline. If a judgment has already been issued, the defender can petition the court to have the petition recalled.

Further information

[1]For example: The Azores or Madeira for Portugal, the Departments and territories overseas for France, the Canary Islands for Spain etc....)

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Last update: 17-08-2007

 
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