Protecting yourself and your business interests from unwanted or unnecessary court orders being granted against you is increasingly important. To make sure that you are given notice for most interim court orders, we suggest having Caveats in place.
What is a ‘Caveat’?
Caveats are inexpensive court documents that protect individuals or companies against Court orders being granted against them unexpectedly. Caveats oblige the Court to provide advanced notice of an application made by a third party for most types of urgent orders, which includes interim interdict, administration or sequestration, allowing your legal agents the opportunity to address the court in advance of Orders being granted.
How do they work?
Caveats can be lodged at the Sheriff Court and also at the Court of Session which is the highest court in Scotland. In normal circumstances, a Caveat would be lodged at the local Sheriff Court of an individual or the local Sheriff Court of the place(s) of business of a company. In most circumstances, we would recommend that a Caveat is also lodged at the Court of Session as this court has jurisdiction over the whole of Scotland.
Caveats are often ‘triggered’ when a party applies for interim interdict against another party. An example of interim interdict would be a party asking the court to prohibit the responding party from selling property until an overall decision for the case was reached. If the responding party has a Caveat in place, then their solicitor would be alerted to the action – even out of hours – so that they can attend the hearing to represent their client prior to the interim order being granted. Once an interim order is issued by the court, it must be obeyed, therefore it is easier (and quicker!) to challenge the order and have the court refuse it than it would be to have the order reversed.
Caveats are renewed annually, therefore we keep a note of their expiration date on your behalf. When the renewal date approaches, we would contact you so that these can be renewed.
A caveat on Caveats
It is important to note that Caveats do not prevent court actions being raised against you but can give you the opportunity to state your case and argue against the need for the court to grant an order against you in the meantime. They also do not oblige the court to notify you of certain types of applications for orders, such as an application for an inhibition (which would, for example, prevent you from selling your property) or an arrestment.
Who should have a Caveat in place?
The 39 Sheriff Courts in Scotland hear all civil cases with a value of £100,000 or less. Actions valued at over £100,000 are heard at the Court of Session. We therefore recommend that those with property or business interests in Scotland consider lodging Caveats at the Court of Session and the local Sheriff Court where they live or where their business is registered or trades.