small claims
case digest

British Gas -v- Darling 1990 SLT 53


Issue - Sufficiency of statement of claim; application of rules 3(4)(b) and 13(2).

Rule 3(4)(b) requires P to give fair notice of his or her claim in the summons, and where goods or services are involved, P must mention date(s) of supply and order. Rule 13(2): provides that at the preliminary hearing the sheriff shall not grant decree where D has delivered a form of response but has not appealed, unless it is clear from the summons that a ground of jurisdiction exists.

P attempted to raise a summons which simply contained a statement of the nature and date of supply of goods and services. The Sheriff refused warrant for service as (1) having regard to rule 13(2) it was not clear from the summons that a ground of jurisdiction existed; (2) the copy statement of account was evidence and not pleadings; and (3) there had been no compliance with rule 3(4)(b) as the date the goods and services were ordered had not been narrated in the summons. P appealed.

The Sheriff Principal, allowing the appeal, held that rule 13(2) did not relate to granting of an application for warrant for service and it was sufficient at that stage to consider jurisdiction on a prima facie basis.

The statement of account could only be regarded as a statement of claim. Rule 3(4)(b) had been complied with.

Observed that the courts should adopt a liberal and enabling approach in small claims procedure.