AA Legal Documents
Law guide

Debt recovery - legal glossary

Contents

Legal glossary

Absolve

To find in favour of and exonerate the defender.

Absolvitor

An order of the court granted in favour of and exonerating the defender which means that the pursuer is not allowed to bring the same matter to court again.

Ad factum praestandum
An obligation to do or perform some act (other than the payment of money).

Appellant

A person making an appeal against the sheriff's decision. This might be the pursuer or the defender.

Arrestment on the dependence

A court order to freeze the goods or bank account of the defender until the court has heard the case.

Arrestment to found jurisdiction

A court order used against a person who has goods or other assets in Scotland, to give the court jurisdiction to hear a claim. This is achieved by preventing anything being done with the goods or assets until the case has been disposed of.

Authorised lay representative

A person other than a lawyer who represents a party to a small claim.

Cause

Another word for case or claim, used for cases under the summary cause procedure.

Caution (pronounced kay-shun)

A security, usually a sum of money, given to ensure that some obligation will be carried out.

Certificate of Execution of Service

The document recording that an order or decree of the court for service of documents has been effected.

Charge

An order to obey a decree of a court. A common type is one served on the defender by a sheriff officer, on behalf of the pursuer who has won a case, demanding payment of a sum of money.

Citation of defender

The bringing of a person into a case by serving on him or her the necessary court documents. It can also mean the notice on the copy of the summons served on the defender signed by the person serving it.

Commission and Diligence

Authorisation by the court for someone to take the evidence of a witness who cannot attend court, or to obtain the production of documentary evidence. It is combined with a diligence authorising the person appointed to require the attendance of the witness and the disclosure of documents.

Consignation

The deposit in court, or with a third party, of money or an article in dispute.

Continuation

An order made by the sheriff postponing the completion of a hearing until a later date or dates.

Counterclaim

A claim made by a defender in response to the pursuer's claim and which is not a defence to that claim. It is a separate but related claim against the pursuer which is dealt with at the same time as the pursuer's claim.

Crave

The part of the summons which sets out the legal remedy (result) which the pursuer is seeking.

Damages

Money compensation payable for a breach of contract or some other legal duty.

Decree

An order of the court containing the decision on the claim in favour of one of the parties and granting the remedy sought, or disposing of the claim.

Defender

Person against whom a claim is made.

Deliverance

A decision or order of a court.

Depending

A case is said to be depending when it is going through a court procedure. Technically, this begins with citation of the defender and ends with any final appeal.

Diet

Date for a court hearing.

Diligence

The collective term for the procedures used to enforce a decree of a court. These include arrestment of wages, goods or a bank account.

Dismissal

An order bringing to an end the proceedings in a claim. It is usually possible for a new claim to be brought if not time barred.

Domicile

The place where a person is normally resident or where, in the case of a company, it has its place of business or registered office.

Execution of service

See Certificate of execution of service.

Execution of a charge

The intimation of the requirement to obey a decree or order of a court.

Execution of an arrestment

The carrying out of an order of arrestment.

Expenses

The technical term for the costs of a court case.

Extra-judicial settlement

An agreement between the parties to a case to settle it themselves rather than to await a decision by the sheriff.

Extract decree

The document containing the order of the court which is made at the end of the claim. For example, it can be used to enforce payment of a sum awarded.

Haver

A person who holds documents which are required as evidence in a case.

Huissier

An official in France, and some other European countries, who serves court documents.

Incidental application

An application that can be made during the course of a small claim for certain orders. Examples are applications for the recovery of documents or to amend the statement of claim.

Interlocutor

The official record of the order or judgement of a court.

Intimation

The technical term for giving notice to another party of some step in the small claim.

Jurisdiction

The authority of a court to hear particular cases.

Messenger-at-Arms

Officers of court who serve documents issued by the Court of Session.

Minute

A document produced during a case in which a party makes an application or sets out his or her position on some matter.

Minute for recall

A form lodged with the court by one party asking the court to recall a decree.

Options hearing

A preliminary stage in an ordinary cause action.

Ordinary cause

Another legal procedure for higher value claims available in the sheriff court.

Party litigant

A person who conducts his or her own case.

Productions

Documents or articles which are used in evidence.

Pursuer

The person making a claim.

Recall of an arrestment

A court order withdrawing an arrestment.

Restriction of an arrestment

An order releasing part of the money or property arrested.

Recall of a decree

An order revoking a decree which has been granted.

Recovery of documents

The process of obtaining documentary evidence which is not in the possession of the person seeking it (such as hospital records necessary to establish the extent of injuries received in a road accident).

Remit between procedures

A decision of the sheriff to transfer the claim to another court procedure (such as summary cause or ordinary cause procedure).

Respondent

When a decision of the sheriff is appealed against, the person making the appeal is called the appellant. The other side in the appeal is called the respondent.

Return day

The date by which the defender must send a written reply to the court and, where appropriate, the pursuer must return the summons to court.

Schedule of arrestment

The list of items which may be arrested.

Serve/Service

Sending a copy of the summons or other court document to the defender or another party.

Sheriff clerk

The court official responsible for the administration of the sheriff court.

Sheriff officer

A person who serves court documents and enforces court orders.

Sist of action

The temporary suspension of a court case by court order.

Sist as a party

To add another person as a litigant in a case.

Stated case

An appeal procedure where the sheriff sets out his findings and the reasons for his decision and states the issues on which the decision of the sheriff principal is requested.

Statement of claim

The part of the summons in which pursuers set out details of their claims against defenders.

Summary cause

Another legal procedure available in the sheriff court. It is used for certain types of claim usually having a higher value than small claims, though less than those dealt with as ordinary causes.

Summons

The form which must be filled in to begin a small claim.

Time to pay direction

A court order for which a defender who is an individual may apply, permitting a sum owed to be paid by instalments or by a single payment at a later date.

Warrant for diligence

Authority to carry out one of the diligence procedures

Writ

A legally significant document or piece of writing.