Making an application
Once you have decided to use the Tribunal, the first step is to make an application.
The procedure set out on these pages broadly describes that followed by the Tribunal in the majority of cases. However, due to the variety of the Tribunal’s jurisdictions, there are some variations. It is a helpful feature of the Tribunal that once the application is in, the Tribunal guides the parties through all the subsequent proceedings by making suitable orders at each stage, saying what has to be done.
Whatever your particular situation, it is generally advisable to consult a solicitor before making any application to the Tribunal. Legal aid is available in appropriate cases under the terms of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986. Legal advice at the outset is worth having to ensure that you have a sound case and to help you identify the best arguments in support of it. Once you are confident that your case — or defence — is well founded you may well be able to deal with it yourself.
How do I make an application to the Tribunal?
You must make your application in writing, generally on a form provided by the Tribunal or specified by an Act of Parliament. You may download a suitable application form from this web site. If you need guidance in choosing the appropriate Form, please contact the Tribunal office.
The Tribunal usually serves notice of an application to respondents by sending a copy to them or to their agents (for example, solicitors or surveyors) by Recorded Delivery mail. In some title condition cases, if the benefited proprietor (the person who has a legal interest to enforce the title condition) cannot be traced, the Tribunal may have to place a newspaper advertisement to serve notice of the application. You will be responsible for the costs incurred in respect of the notice, although the advertisement itself is drawn up and placed by Tribunal staff.
You should complete the form in as much detail as possible, following any guidance notes given on the form itself. You need to make it clear to the Tribunal and to the other parties exactly what the dispute is about. Include copies of any relevant maps, plans, title deeds or other documents (known as productions) with your application.
Your application must be sent to the Tribunal offices as indicated on the form. You must send the appropriate fee with your application in order for it to be processed by the Tribunal.
What happens next?
The Tribunal normally acknowledges applications within one week of receipt. Thereafter the Tribunal may ask you for further details or clarification if the application is in any way unclear or incomplete.
The Tribunal will then notify the details of the application to the other party (or parties), and will invite them to give their response: that is, their answers to the matters raised in the application. (The Tribunal may also give notice of an application to third parties such as neighbours, and allow them to become party to the proceedings.) Normally, the Tribunal will then ask you to give a reply to any responses received. This process may be repeated until the stage is reached when the application is ready to be heard.