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Caveats: a useful tool for litigators

Clients often contact us for advice following an unpleasant visit from a sheriff officer who has served court action upon them. In many cases, the clients will be completely unaware that court action was looming, which can leave them shocked and uncertain as to what the next steps should be. In some cases, the court may have already granted interim or temporary orders against the client or their business. Clients often comment that it would be helpful to have received advance notice of the impending court action, to allow them to fully prepare their response. In litigation, forewarned is forearmed. 

Thankfully, there is a procedure which can be followed by to ensure that clients are aware of a court action prior to it being served upon them. We can lodge a caveat on behalf of the client with the appropriate court which will act as a trigger when a court action is lodged against them. Upon receipt of any court action, the court will contact the solicitor to advise them of the court action raised and invite them to any preliminary hearing in the case, before the action is served on their client. The caveat also includes the mobile number for the solicitor so that they can be contacted quickly to deal with any situation which arises. This is an extremely useful tool, particularly where someone is seeking to obtain interim orders against a client or their business. For example, interim or temporary interdict can be granted against a client to prevent them from taking certain steps, without them having any knowledge of the court action or having attended the first hearing of the case. With a caveat in place, the client will be informed of the potential court action and will have an opportunity to appear or be represented before any decision is made.

A caveat is a useful tool for all clients, not just those who are involved in disputes or anticipating litigation. They are an essential tool for individuals, small businesses and larger organisations and should form part of their risk management strategy. Caveats can prevent decree passing against clients in their absence and can prevent interim orders being granted in respect of the liquidation or winding up of a business

We would recommend that for clients based in Scotland, caveats are lodged both in their local sheriff court and in the Court of Session. We offer a restricted fee for this service which includes the cost of the court dues. Caveats are reviewed annually to ensure ongoing protection for our clients.

If you wish further information on caveats or to instruct us to lodge caveats on your behalf, please contact Deborah Carmichael on 0141 227 6084 or

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